Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Rating MOOCs

Although many educators haven't determined what they think of free online classes provided to the public, there are many students and Silicon Valley developers which believe they have. There are at least three sites that have been started within the past few months which are designed to let users of massive open online courses review the courses that they have participated in. The idea isn't completely new – it's something that started a long time ago with sites such as Rate My Professors. These sites have allowed anonymous reviews of professors for years, most of ten to the ire of the faculty itself. However, now developers are starting to create these sites just for people who have participated in MOOCs and other related online educational offerings. The majority of the reviews posted to these sites are not really as harsh as the ones that are typically available on Rate My Professor. This is generally because there's a new view suggesting that students are more likely to create positive reviews when they are participating in a free class – essentially, they are not taking out a loan or facing a situation where their grades are going to absolutely impact their results in school. As a result, the comments are more constructive and kind instead of the type of madness that is typically seen on Rate My Professor. Since the courses are free, there's a lot of student attitudes which are promoting more good will than anything else. Some site owners believe that some of the professors realize that the sites exist and are sending students over to help change the reviews to becoming more positive. As a result, some of the sites have tried to highlight users that have written numerous reviews or have written reviews that other users would feel are fair. The greatest aspect here is that not all of the reviews are anonymous. Developers believe that these sites help prospective MOOC students determine whether or not they want to participate in these classes before they take them. They provide users with an easier way to describe how difficult the courses are. Most of the professors at the major universities that have been participating in MOOCs have not been complaining about the sites themselves. This is likely because many of them are hoping that they have joined a revolution of MOOCs that may change the way that many distance education courses are being handled. Most professors are very willing to listen to and read the feedback that they are receiving about their courses in order to improve them and future MOOC options. For the most part, there are not many MOOCs that have had poor ratings. To some extent, there is some sample bias, as most people who don't like MOOCs can simply drop out from the course if they are not interested – this is an element that would be far too costly in a real college setting.
Author: Mollie
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