In today's fast paced online course industry, we are seeing more and more free courses available to the public to teach them topics ranging from social sciences to advanced mathematics. However, only 8% of courses are ever completed, so how might we improve that statistic? Well, there are various aspects of teaching online we can improve like theme, structure and pace, video, instructor attributes, content resources, interaction and support, and assignment and assessment.
Instructors face 3 main challenges in Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs): lack of student feedback, lack of online forum participation, and the difficulty in actually developing a course for a large audience. The first two factors of the three are on the topic of student engagement. This is important because only 6% of 1000 students engage in online courses, and those were the ones who thought they were frequent contributors (Hew, Chen, Tang). Researchers found that these were the comments that best described how to improve theme, structure and pace, video, instructor attributes, content resources, interaction and support, and assignment and assessment:
Instructors desire to "enhance their professional reputation" as well as "provide the opportunity for students around the world to access their courses" (Hew, Chen, Tang). It was found that a sense of humor was highly effective in helping the engagement of students, so that would be the simplest area for teachers to start. Education is vital in our world and delivering new ways to communicate knowledge is always going to be less than efficient at first, however, we can always improve the systems we currently have in place if we continue to think differently.
Hew, K., Chen, Q., & Tang, Y. (2018). Understanding Student Engagement in Large-Scale Open Online Courses: A Machine Learning Facilitated Analysis of Student’s Reflections in 18 Highly Rated MOOCs. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 19(3), 69-93.