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Sunday, July 20, 2014

F is for Failure; Or, Don’t Invest Your Pension in MOOCs Yet

Photo: Claire B. Potter
Claire B. Potter, Professor of History at The New School for Public Engagement, New York, NY. writes, "Will Oremus reports at Slate that San Jose State University is suspending its online classes after over half the students in them failed their final exams."

Sebastian Thrun, the founder of San Jose’s provider, Udacity, explained to the Associated Press “that the failure rates in the five classes ranged from 56 to 76 percent. Nor was the course material exactly rocket science—the five classes were in elementary statistics, college algebra, entry-level math, introduction to programming, and introduction to psychology.”

Those of you who always blame the student for his own failures should probably skip to the next blog on your list (one response on Facebook has been for faculty to vent about their own students’ lack of college preparation and commitment and/or how sick they are of students saying they have no time for college because they are working. Way to buff the profession’s image, guys!) For most of us a very high failure rate suggests that something is wrong with the course, the pedagogy, or both. Seventy-six percent failures in some courses from people who actually did the work?

Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education, (The Chronicle Blog Network)