Online and Blended Learning
Learning at Scale
Large scale learning environments are places with many learners and few experts to guide them. They include Massive Open Online Courses, adaptive learning systems, and interest-driven online communities. Learning at scale is poised to play a greater role in K-12 education, teacher preparation, and lifelong learning.
L@S 2017, the Fourth Annual Meeting of the ACM Conference on Learning at Scale, was held April 20 and 21, 2017, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA. http://learningatscale.acm.org/las2017/
Computational Measures of Engagement Across Difference in Online Courses
In this study, we are developing computational measures that allow instructors to evaluate the degree to which online students use discussion forums to engage in conversation with peers who hold different political beliefs. These measures will build upon previous work examining open classroom climate, but differ in that our measures will draw upon event logs from online platforms rather than survey self-reports. We will develop and test these measures in edX courses that explore politically controversial content. After surveying students to evaluate their political beliefs, we will use the extremely granular data collected by open online courses to examine the degree to which students in forums respond directly to students with differing opinions versus forming separate conversational siloes of like-minded students. Conducted with Dustin Tingley at Harvard University and Brandon Stewart at Princeton University.
– Computational Measures of Engagement Across Difference in Online Courses (Reich et al. 2016)
– The Civic Mission of MOOCs: Measuring Engagement across Political Differences in Forums (Reich et al. 2014)
Alternative Credentials and Blended Programs
As massive open online courses continue to grow, many platforms now offer opportunities for learners to receive alternative credentials (e.g., MicroMasters, Specializations) in specific content areas. Additionally, some programs are beginning to offer “blended” graduate programs where students take some initial courses online and then are admitted to the graduate performance based on their performance in these online courses. These developments have the potential to increase access to credentials from higher education institutions to more non-traditional students and students in the developing world.
This research project is focused on better understanding the types of students who enroll in alternative credential and blended programs, studying their experiences in these programs, and exploring how these programs might affect their education and careers prospects. We began this project with a study on the first cohort in the Supply Chain Management Master’s– Blended program which will be completed in Fall 2018.
MOOCs: The Lived Experience
While online learning environments provide incredible rich tracking log data about student learning experiences, online platforms cannot track all of the learning experiences that happen beyond those platforms. The Lived Experience project is based on interviews with over 100 MOOC students, to better understand their learning experience at their workstation, online but off platform, and in their lives beyond the courses.
Conducted with George Veletsianos at Royal Roads Unversity, and Laura Pasquini at the University of North Texas.