Monday, September 4, 2017

Some Useful Tips to Ensure Greater Success For MOOC Students:


Potential employees can get their dream job through MOOCs(1) :
·         Employers are looking for the skills in an employee that are taught by MOOCs;
·         If you can demonstrate some skills (in business, finance, statistics, computer science – e.g., ability to use certain software, etc.), some employers will be happy to hire you and don’t care where you learned the skills or whether you received a piece of paper for learning these skills; and
·         MOOCs are being taught by professors from high quality institutions (e.g., Stanford, and Princeton), so there should be no doubt that MOOCs are receiving high quality instruction.

The previous posting identified some MOOC websites and courses that will serve the need of various interest groups.  Nevertheless, MOOC students face some special challenges.  This post aims to provide some tips to help MOOC students successfully complete their courses. This post will  address the issue of a low successful completion rate by MOOC students, which has been generally regarded as being about only 4-6%.

MOOC students can implement tips below if they are ready to implement them, and then use the others tips when ready to do so.  Nevertheless, students should try and implement foundational tips as early as possible.  Please click on the corresponding reference if you need more details on any of the given tips.


A: Five (5) Study Tips for MOOC Students(2)
1.       Schedule time for your MOOCs;
2.       Participate in the Learning Community;
3.       Practice your computer literacy;
4.       Study at a desk or table, rather than in bed; and
5.       Don’t take more courses than you can manage.

B: Six (6) Tips for Managing a Full MOOC Course-Load(3)
1.       Tell others (colleagues, fellow students, friends, teachers and parents) what you are learning.  Most people do not know what a MOOC is and might wonder what you are  doing;
2.       Get a buddy for each course.  Knowing someone else studying the same course can motivate you;
3.       Play videos 1.25x to 2.00x to save you time viewing lectures;
4.       Balance your course load with your other activities;
5.       Put the skills you learned (instead of your individual courses) on your resume; and
6.       Keep all assignments you submitted  on your local computer.  After submitting, make a copy in a text file or any other format.  This allows you to develop a portfolio which you can use later to show off your work.

C: Twenty-five (25) Tips for a Better MOOC Experience(4)
1.       Get connected.  (Find at least one other person to keep you connected to the course);
2.       Introduce yourself and share ways to connect. (Be sure that you are easy to find if your fellow student would like to connect with you.  Share your social media information, and a friendly image so  your peers know how to find you);
3.       Start your own discussion.  (Post a thoughtful reply to a discussion or create your own discussion. You’ll find much more value in the course if you participate with others);
4.       Complete major projects. (Take part in all of the major projects along with the class);
5.       Offer assistance to others. (As you help your peers, you are likely to learn something yourself);
6.       Don’t get overwhelmed. (There will be lots of posts to your course groups, however, you don’t have to read every single thing. Get a daily digest of posts and scan through it for interesting conversations that you’d like to take part in);
7.       Don’t be overwhelming. (Be concise in your discussions, questions, and answers);
8.       Use descriptive titles. (This is a great way to quickly enable others to understand what you are getting at);                                                                                                                                                              
9.       Create your own content. (Share videos, concept maps, etc. with classmates. This is possible when you understand course content and have reflections of your own);
10.   Ask questions. (Speak up if you have a question or a comment to spark discussion);
11.   Join sub-groups. (Especially sub-groups where you can share aspects of the course that are really important to you);
12.   Set up your own blog. (A blog is a great place to collect and share your own thoughts on a course);
13.   Get on twitter. (Chances are good that plenty of MOOC discussions will be happening on Twitter. Be sure to create an account and find out what the course hashtag is);
14.   Create your own archive. (With tools like “Scoop,” you can create an archive of all the great resources you’ve found in your MOOC);
15.   Designate an email address. (Create a dedicated email address that you use only for MOOC learning or set up filters to keep posts out of your inbox. Otherwise, you can  get overwhelmed quickly );
16.   Set up a Yahoo! Pipe. (This is a great way to stay on top of MOOC post aggregation. You can bring in RSS, Google Groups, even Twitter and Flickr);
17.   Plan what you want to receive out of the MOOC. (Have a clear idea of what you want to receive out of your MOOC before you begin. Do you want to just follow along?  Get credit? Or …?);
18.   Get oriented early. (As early as possible, determine where and when everything is, so you don’t get left behind. Find everything important for the course,such as: a) course materials, b) important links, c)  sessions times , etc …);
19.   Stay On Schedule. (Decide what courses you would like to participate in and then schedule a time to do just that);
20.   Make a commitment to yourself. (Then stay committed, and stay active in order to avoid letting things slip away);
21.   Get a certificate. (If you are going to do the work, why not get credit for it?);
22.   Find a job. (Star  MOOCs performers could be snapped up by dot-coms in need of star talent);
23.   Use your MOOC experience to get college credits. (You can use MOOC in your prior learning portfolio to get actual college credits);
24.   Be persistent. (MOOCs are an educational marathon.  Don’t give up before you have crossed the finish line); and
25.   Don’t be afraid to take time off.  (If you need a break, take a little time off to relax and then begin again).

D: Addressing Procrastination
·         Procrastination can be a major issue with MOOC students because they don’t have in-person professors to continually encourage and guide them;
·         To avoid procrastination, students should develop a study plan and stick with their plan;
·         However, recent research(5) indicate that procrastination could be a form of self-defeating behavior. This happens when the students are trying to protect themselves from the negative emotions they  feel if they fail at an academic task. In this situation, students need to realize that:
o   They (students) have far greater control over their academic success than they think; and
o   They can confront their own fears, and need to practice having a growth mindset (which believes that skill and academic strength can be developed through effort and practice).

·         There are certainly a lot of useful tips out there that MOOC students could use to guide them in their study.

·         To identify your first (or next) MOOC, please click here.


Posted by: Dr. Nat Tuivavalagi 

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