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B. Bordel, R. Alcarria, M.A. Manso, D. Martin

Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (SPAIN)
In the future digital society, knowledge will turn into a shared, open and free element, which will be able to be acquired in an ubiquitous way during the entire life of citizens. In order to reach this objective within the next years, traditional limits of knowledge and education are being pushed nowadays with different proposals. First initiatives consisted of continuous learning programs, organized as professional courses by Universities and other educational institutions. Usually, a formal enrollment is required and it is necessary to pay a fee. Although these courses are still organized nowadays, a second generation of informative courses appeared some years ago. In particular, platforms and agreements such as the OpenCourseWare and, finally, Massive Open Online Courses definitely became these new teaching approaches into massive and totally free.

In its origin, Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) were only collaborative technological learning events, organized as an experience for innovational education. Shortly after, online educational platforms to offer public and free MOOC appeared. The objective of these courses was to acquire certain competencies with the sole motivation of extending the own knowledge. Commonly, evaluation activities are based on multi-option tests, however, some competencies (especially those related to creativity, creation, etc.) cannot be worked with test exams, and must be evaluated using Peer-to-Peer (P2P) tasks.

Nevertheless, various problems have been detected in relation to P2P: plagiarism, the provision of useless feedback to students… and in a very relevant manner, the extremely low number of students that complete (or even download the materials) these activities. Thus, as P2P activities tend to be mandatory, the completion rate of MOOCs including P2P activities (as the authors have informally observed) is lower than in other courses.

In order to scientifically validate the informal observations and conclusions developed by the authors, a pilot experience was planned and carried out at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, using a Spanish-Portuguese MOOC platform. As a proposal, during the second term of the academic year 2017/18, we have created two different MOOCs with similar contents (related to Telecommunication Engineering). The first one included a P2P activity as final activity. The second one, was only based on test exams. Once finished all the courses, students were asked to fill a survey about the experience and their perception about the process and their learning. Academic results of both groups, the completion rates and other similar statistics were processed and analyzed.

Results confirmed most informal observations. They showed that most relevant Key Performance Indicators (KPI) remain similar in both courses during the first modules (where only test exams are considered). However, the completion rate in the course with P2P activities is statically mush lower, with a final reduction of 85% compared to the course with no P2P tasks. Besides, surveys show a relevant reduction in the student satisfaction when P2P tasks are included. However, students that address P2P activities report a higher learning level and are more willing to enroll in a second edition of the course.