Report: MOOC Instructors Need More Support
more support for instructors may improve the student experience in
massive open online courses (MOOCs), according to a study conducted by
researchers from Penn State and the University of Central Florida.
researchers interviewed 14 current and former instructors of MOOCs and
discovered that only 4 of the 14 were interested in teaching MOOCs on a
regular basis, according to a news report on the Penn State site. Of
the remaining 10 instructors, two said they didn't want to teach
another MOOC, four wanted to take a break, and another four "were
concerned about the demands of teaching another course," according to
One concern was the amount of work required to
prepare a MOOC, which requires the instructor to write lessons and
record video lectures in addition to their traditional teaching duties.
One of the instructors told the researchers that it took 400 hours of
work to prepare a single course.
Some instructors struggle during
the implementation and feedback phases of a MOOC, according to the
researchers. Instructors who are used to providing students with
one-on-one guidance must adjust their expectations when teaching
thousands of students in a MOOC. They also need new models and methods
for measuring the success of a course since the traditional metric of
measuring student retention rates doesn't apply to MOOCs, where 90
percent of students leave the course after two weeks, not necessarily
because there's anything wrong with the course but because many people
join MOOCs out of curiosity or to collect materials for study on their
The study was conducted by Saijing Zheng, a doctoral
candidate in information sciences and technology at Penn State; Pamela
Wisniewski, assistant professor of computer science at the University
of Central Florida; Mary Beth Rosson, associate dean of information
sciences and technology at Penn State; and John M. Carroll,
Distinguished Professor of Information Sciences and Technology at Penn
The researchers said they hope to use the information gathered
through this study to improve support for MOOC instructors. "By
improving support for the instructors and their collaborators, we may
also improve the MOOC experience for students and other stakeholders,"
Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at email@example.com.