MOOC Students Who Got Offline Help Scored Higher, Study Finds

One of the first things researchers have learned about student success in massive open online courses is that in-person, one-on-one teaching still matters.

For online learners who took the first session of “Circuits & Electronics,” the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s hallmark MOOC, those who worked on course material offline with a classmate or “someone who teaches or has expertise” in the subject did better than those who did not, according to a new paper by researchers at MIT and Harvard University.

The research, published this week by the journal Research & Practice in Assessment, is one of the first peer-reviewed academic studies based on data from a MOOC. Advocates for the massive online courses have cited their potential value as engines of educational research.

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