Are you a Viewer, Listener, Optimizer or Completionist?
These terms have been coined by researchers at MIT and Harvard to describe the behaviour of students who participated in the first wave of EDx MOOCs. Links to the research and a de-identified dataset are available in this news report.
The image below shows grades attained and chapters viewed by 53,340 participants on one of these courses, Health and Environmental Change.
From Reich, J., Nesterko, S., Seaton, D. T., Mullaney, T., Waldo, J., Chuang, I., & Ho, A.D. (2014). Health in Numbers and Human Health and Global Environmental Change: 2012-2013 Harvard School of Public Health course reports (HarvardX Working Paper Series No. 2).
The categories of students identified are:
- Completionists (at the top right of the graph) – students who viewed most of the material and achieved a high grade.
- Optimizers (top left) – students who did enough to pass the course, but viewed only a limited amount of course material.
- Viewers (bottom left) – students who viewed a limited amount of material and did not achieve a passing grade. These students may still have achieved all that they wanted from the course.
- Listeners (bottom right) – students who viewed more than half of the chapters, but did not achieve a passing grade on the course. Some of these students did not engage with the formal assessment at all.
As the report states:
One of the signature features of these plots is that students can be found at nearly every possible location in the possibility space. Some students focused on earning a certificate by targeting assessment questions; some students viewed all parts of the course, eschewing all assessment; some students dabbled in various dimensions; and some students successfully completed all parts of the course.
On future courses, students will be asked about their motivation for taking the course.