Better Understanding through Data: Completion, Motivation, and Learning in Minnesota MOOCs


In the summer of 2013, faculty members at the University of Minnesota collaborated with staff from the university’s Office of Information Technology and provost’s office to deliver five massive open online courses (MOOCs) using the Coursera platform. In addition, one MOOC in computer science was offered in parallel with a face-to-face section of that course. As part of these relatively early forays into MOOCs, we wanted to better understand their pedagogical impact. Conducting systematic, reliable research in a MOOC environment is challenging due to factors including lack of student commitment/effort, different student populations, elusive baseline measures, and student attrition. The project described here sought to use appropriate evaluation methods to address each of these challenges.

The Seeking Evidence of Impact (SEI) program is intended to bring the teaching and learning community into a discussion about ways of gathering evidence of the impact of our innovations and current practices. The goal of the SEI case studies is to provide examples of successful projects evaluating the impact of innovation, technology, and best practices in teaching and learning.

In addition to the SEI case studies, you may find other ELI resources useful in addressing teaching, learning, and technology issues at your institution. To learn more, please visit the ELI Resources page.

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