As the school year gets into full swing, folks might be starting to think about how MOOCs (massive online open courses) can help them on their own educational journeys – whether towards a degree or simply for growing their own knowledge for personal or career reasons. After a meteoric rise, MOOCs such as those offered by Coursera, EdX and Udacity, have taken a few hits. Early results from a study last year by the University of Pennsylvania, for instance, said that MOOC course completion rates average just 4 percent across all courses, and range from 2 to 14 percent depending on the course and measurement of completion. The New York Times reported on some other setbacks here – but also noted that while MOOCs may be reshaped, they’re unlikely to disappear.
Some of that reshaping is underway. Among the efforts is a project announced this summer to take place at Carnegie Mellon University, in a multi-year program funded through a Google Focused Research Award. The announcement says the project will approach the problem from multiple directions, including a data-driven effort that will use machine-learning techniques to personalize the MOOC learning experience.