Duke’s first Coursera MOOC, Bioelectricity: A Quantitative Approach which launched on September 24 wrapped up last week. Congratulations to Dr. Barr and his students from all of us at Duke University! We won’t have a complete analysis of this MOOC available until January – we’re still collecting feedback and reviewing data. In the meantime, in response to popular demand, here are a few quick details about the course from a preliminary review.

The numbers of students who participated in various ways in Bioelectricity:

  • Expressed an interest by registering: 12,461
  • Watched at least one video: 7593
  • Answered at least one question correctly on both Week 1 quizzes: 1267
  • Earned at least one point on the final exam: 358
  • Earned any certificate (basic + with distinction):  313
  • Earned a distinction certificate: 260

Ultimately, 25% of students who earned at least one point on the quizzes during Week 1 successfully completed the course requirements.

A few other fun facts about this MOOC:

  • Dr. Roger Barr in his Introductory course video, wearing a tie that became a favorite among his Coursera students

    The number of students who completed the course is over ten times the campus enrollment.

  • Students were assessed with over 85 concept and application problems, including multiple choice as well as numeric  questions scored correct if the answer was within a range defined by the instructor.
  • 96 video segments containing over 660 minutes of instruction were posted and watched more than 288,000 times.
  • 295 students participated in a peer-graded writing assignment exercise in Week 7 of the course.
  • The discussion forum contained over 3500 posts with nearly 2000 comments organized into over 700 threads. Over 110,000 views of the discussion forum were recorded during the course.
  • Students represented 110 countries.
  • Beyond the Coursera site, students interacted in many ways including a Facebook study group managed by a student from Chile with 93 members, and a live Google+ Hangout organized by a student from California.

From the course site itself it’s clear that many students who completed the course had an excellent experience; typical accolades for the instructor from the students included:

“Thank you very much Professor Barr. This course has been a fascinating experience. It’s amazing that I can understand these concepts from a mathematical point of view (I’m a physician).”

“This is the most fun I’ve had in a long time – the subject matter is fascinating and the pedagogy is careful and effective. I’m having a ball of a time despite being seriously mathematically deficient/averse to math.”

“I’ve always wanted to learn more about the bioelectricity part of neurons and in the past eight weeks I’ve learned more than I have in thirty years of on again off again self study.”

“Professor Barr and his staff put together a wonderfully insightful course on a subject few in the world have any clue of, with charm, wit, and a unique and genuine avuncular style that is seldom seen. For 8 weeks, I’ve looked forward to his refreshing and engaging, “Hello again,” the clear even-paced and stimulating lectures, as well as the challenging problem sets. Three cheers for Professor Coke Barr and his staff, a wholly worthwhile task done incredibly well!”

Dr. Barr recently summed up his approach to delivering this course in an interview with IEEE Spectrum,

“…to do this, you just have to have a sense of adventure and hope that it’s all going to work out in the end.” – Roger Barr, “Techwise Conversations,” 10/9/2012

We’ll be back with a fuller report on the outcomes of this MOOC in January. Stay tuned!

For more information on Duke’s online courses, click here: http://onlinecourses.duke.edu/.

Yvonne Belanger

Prior to May of 2013, Yvonne led assessment and program evaluation for CIT and for university initiatives in which CIT takes a leading role. She also provided leadership to library assessment efforts.

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3 Responses to Duke’s first MOOC: a very preliminary report

  1. Matt says:

    Hello all,
    Yvonne, very interesting information. It seems from the comments that some if not many of the students were older than average. I am sure you have a break down of the self-report data on age?. Education level?, Occupation?, etc. Really cool stuff!

  2. Villas in Ibiza says:

    A very interesting text. I think bioelectricity should be more developed, its the future!

  3. [...] reason why a mooc of over 1200 learners and 6 moderators can not partake in weekly live sessions.http://cit.duke.edu/blog/2012/12/bioelectricity-preliminary-report/ Take a moment to read the above report from duke. There are ways to assess MOOC. I may take it as [...]