Science Magazine

Jan 2015

Rebooting MOOC research

Justin Reich


The chief executive officer of edX, Anant Agarwal, declared that Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) should serve as “particle accelerator for learning” (1). MOOCs provide new sources of data and opportunities for large-scale experiments that can advance the science of learning. In the years since MOOCs first attracted widespread attention, new lines of have begun, but findings from these efforts have had few implications for teaching and learning. Big data sets do not, by virtue of their size, inherently possess answers to interesting questions. For MOOC to advance the science of learning,ers, course developers, and other stakeholders must advance the field along three trajectories: from studies of engagement to about learning, from investigations of individual courses to comparisons across contexts, and from a reliance on post hoc analyses to greater use of multidisciplinary, experimental design.


Reich, J. (2015). Rebooting MOOC research. Science. 347(6217), 30-31.

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