Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are potentially powerful online innovations attracting a massive, global population. However, MOOCs are also notorious for their massive attrition rates—up to 90 percent. The colossal number of forum posts and assignments submitted precludes instructors from providing individual feedback or meeting the needs of the huge and diverse student population. As a result, students feel lost and perceive the forums and courses in general as chaotic. You can address this issue by building learning communities through online groups where interaction among students plays a central role in supporting the learning process.

Participants in this case-study session will explore how Penn State University formed and managed large numbers of worldwide teams using the CATME SMARTER Teamwork System in the Coursera Creativity, Innovation, and Change (CIC) MOOC and the effects of groups on the performance and retention of enrolled students. You will leave this session understanding the characteristics that contribute to both successful and unsuccessful groups within a MOOC.

In this session, you will learn:

  • The factors and criteria MOOC participants like to see groups formed around
  • How assigning learners to different types and sizes of groups contributes to reducing attrition and increasing participation
  • How to improve participants’ perception of the value and quality of the course
  • Which characteristics contribute to successful and unsuccessful groups of each type

Novice to advanced designers, developers, project managers, and instructor trainers.


Technology discussed in this session:

CATME Smarter Teamwork System, Qualtrics, Coursera, and free online synchronous and asynchronous tools (i.e., Zoom, Google Hangouts, Facebook, Skype, AnyMeeting, BigBlueButton, Zoho, etc.).