Foreseeing the Endgame: Who Are the Students Who Take the Final Exam at the Beginning of a MOOC?
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CitationChen, Chen, Gerhard Sonnert, Philip M. Sadler & David J. Malan. 2020. Foreseeing the Endgame: Who Are the Students Who Take the Final Exam at the Beginning of a MOOC? Behaviour & Information Technology.
AbstractMassive open online courses (MOOCs) show highly irregular participation behaviour among users. In this study, using data from Computer Science 50x of HarvardX, we investigated one extreme, yet common strategy to foresee the endgame: taking the ﬁnal problem set at the beginning of the course. We found such a strategy to be the only dominant trajectory alternative to following the sequence prescribed by the syllabus. Whereas all students who took and passed the ﬁnal problem set at the beginning of the course subsequently completed the course, those who took and failed the ﬁnal problem set at the beginning of the course ﬁnished the fewest number of milestones, even fewer than those who never attempted the ﬁnal problem set. Moreover, students with a lower prior programming proﬁciency were more likely than better prepared students both to take the ﬁnal problem set early and to fail it. This study revealed the disconcerting phenomenon that many students dropped out of a MOOC because, apparently, their conﬁdence was crushed even before they learned any course content. The study suggests that future MOOC practices and policies should oﬀer informative and constructive syllabi to accommodate students’ need for previewing the endgame.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42668784
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