Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NORWAY)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2017 Proceedings
Publication year: 2017
Pages: 6208-6217
ISBN: 978-84-697-6957-7
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2017.1611
Conference name: 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2017
Location: Seville, Spain
MOOCs in general are known for low completion rates. In Norway, a standard model for government funding based on the number of completed ECTS yields a way for MOOCs to be sustainable; A higher income can be generated based on a higher completion rate. Obviously, when designing a MOOC, many dimensions must be balanced and taken into account in order to make a MOOC that has high quality, provides some reasonable structure and can be sustainable in terms of cost vs income. Some relevant dimensions are “pedagogical design”, “content strategy”, “assessment design”, “structural design”, “administrative routines” and “economical issues”.

The ultra flexible MOOC "ICT in learning" was designed in 2015 to fit into busy lives of the target group (school teachers), by implementing many features that should ensure throughput while maintaining high quality: easy registration, motivating content, small assignments, a flexible learning community and self-paced progress. Even the assessment was designed to be flexible with three smaller exams that can be completed any day of the year. The MOOC has attracted more than 2.500 registered students during a period of two years, but only 330 exams have been completed. Translated to economical figures based on the aforementioned Norwegian model for funding, this MOOC is just about sustainable.

A related Norwegian MOOC that is less flexible, has proven much higher completion rates, thus producing higher income. A very specific question is whether the ultra flexible MOOC could increase throughput, by other dimensional changes than by a structural transformation into a less flexible MOOC.

In this paper we analyze the characteristics and features of several Norwegian MOOC designs and discuss the implications with respect to the progress and completion rate of the students. Based on both the analysis and feedback from students in the ultra flexible MOOC, we suggest some guidelines for how MOOCs can be designed to be flexible while maximizing throughput.
MOOC, sustainability, design, flexibility, completion rates.