Mooks, Georgia Tech, Justin discussed on Science Magazine Podcast

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Hello. Welcomes the science podcast for January eleventh two thousand nineteen I'm Sarah Crespi this week show. Megan Cantwell talks with Justin Reich about massive open. Online courses also known as mooks after coming online more than a decade ago. Some of them are starting to pivot to money-making model. Justin, suggests there might be some good reasons for that. And I talked with Christina Warner about a skeleton with mysterious microscopic crystals. Stuck in tartar of her teeth for more than thousand years, Christina and argue geneticists ended up collaborating with physicists and historians to figure out what the substance was where it came from? And how it came to be attached to the skeletons teeth. Nukes or massive open online courses gained lots of attention in twenty twelve as a way to make education accessible globally through access to free video lectures and assignments from some of the world's best professors, many enrolled in these courses, but unfortunately, the attrition rate was also quite hi, I'm Meghan can't. And I'm here with Justin rake to talk about the state of mukhsin twenty nineteen and why summer now offering online master's degrees for professionals. Hey, justin. Valley me. Yeah. It's great. Have you on could you just give background on? How mooks were started sore in two thousand six seven two thousand eight a group of mostly Canadian educators who are doing really interesting innovative work with launching online classes on the open web classes usually had a course number at a university. But then they put all the materials online. So everyone who wanted to join in and they had a couple thousand folks who had arrived to those classes, and then in two thousand eleven refu- different folks in California who were enthusiastic about the idea, including Peter nor vague in Sebastian thune, and they had over a hundred thousand people sign up to their introduction AI class. So it was sort of idea that caught fire. What was the goal of providing the service? You know, there are a number of the key principles the beginning of this said our goal is to really widely disseminate these learning opportunities, they sort of hope that it would be kind of a blue ocean market is as what is called in. Terms of there would be a a whole vast array of people who worked consuming the service that would be potential consumers that good spread widely especially places that didn't have access to lots of higher education. What problems debase e emerge from these programs as they spread to these areas? People instead of distance education for a long time in self regulated learning is really hard. It's really hard to to say I'm gonna make some extra space in my life to take. This course in persist all the way through it. It proven much easier to have people who already have access to higher education get access to more higher education through this kind of free unstructured online learning than it is to create new on ramps into higher education. Other incredible stories of people from every single walk of life, every single background who've been countered moods and a really great. Our for learning experiences from them. There's a pretty high rate of people who end up not continuing their Mook or soon after they started they stop it. Has this problem persisted or worsened overtime, or has it pretty much just been a problem throughout we've good access to Harvard in IT data. So we can make claims about what we see in that typically about half the people who registered, for course, never show up or click into all that's not a big deal. It's totally fine for people to indicate interest in something that not decided to pursue that interest. And that hasn't really changed very much. What has somewhat gone down at least in Harvard in IT data is the proportion of people who return after a second year. And most of the folks who come in. Join a hurt extra mighty X. Course don't come back the following year, for subset, of course, in that proportion of folks has gotten smaller with each subsequent year, both as total number of people who've enrolled his gun up for years, then gunned down more in recent years, but that that's been sort of a stable trend one of the particular challenges. I think the courses like when someone signs up through Twitter or signs up for Instagram. There's no logical ending your feet just keep scrolling over and over again, but courses as. That ends people. Go often, they do other things just hard to build a lot of growth when you have this sort of natural breaking point. But once they realized that is problems are persisting, did they do anything to address them? Or was there any way for them to address it colleagues in I have published studies where we tried different sorts of interventions based on social psychology or behavioral economics, and we've had some initial evidence booze things might work. Although as we've replicated them over time, we haven't seen all of the gains that we might hope building. A course that you can really learn something from that really advances. The science of learning is much more resource intensive than just getting a course out there that teaches some people stuff universities are typically trying to take the budgets. They have to make new courses disperse them widely across lots of different groups. So that the money spread fairly lots. Of course, you can get made. And it's hard to get your course out there on a budget on a deadline and have a whole Reese. Search agenda that's going along in parallel with it. Yeah. These programs definitely need money to sustain and previously. They started out by selling certificates of completion as a revenue stream. But now they're shifting to a different revenue model. Could you talk a little bit about that emerging consensus conversion around online master's degree programs or other kinds of programs that are targeted at working professionals. Some of this is not brand new. So you dastardly very early on have interesting partnership with Georgia Tech where they created the online master's degree in computer. Science course era announced that they were gonna make more partnerships with schools to offer fully online based master's degrees the pivot to supporting universities in creating masters degrees. Put these move providers competing with a lot of well established organizations that help universities that create online master's degrees, and are these mooks run differently in comparison to these more well-established programs one trend might be that. A lot of the established organizations have helped -versities create online courses have mostly focused on courses with staffing models that most people would recognize from older online education. There's twenty twenty five forty students in a class if there's one instructor at their some sense of connection, there's not at all the scale see like in the Georgia Tech online. Computer science masters where they're really trying to do a combination of automating quite a bit of the instruction. And then, you know, some some interesting labor models where you'd ask the network of people around the world that grade people's assignments there's not one ta sitting it George attacker. There's thirty ta sitting round table, Georgia Tech, regretting all these things. They're taking advantage of crowdsourcing sort of other models to try to find new economy. Scaling teaching so this pivot Q professional degree programs with mooks has there been any comparison yet between the retention rate with these programs versus Moore well-established. Program known and it's gonna take a while because the programs are designed to complement working professionals. We have under review right now. Another paper that we're doing which is a review of MIT's first micro masters program, the supply chain management program, you know, in the mount of work that people put into these classes sort of in the corners nooks and crannies of their lives. People describing to us like I go sit at my desk at lunch fire up videos, like stay after work late to the night doing these things such pretty hard to make it a kind of full time commitment the way that these were set up as a result. It's a little bit tricky to figure out when people have traded from the program when they've really left it's not necessarily a bad thing if someone's poking along at one Coursey year in takes a lot longer to finish. But they are able to do that they meet their goals. One thing that might be good thing is that if the costs of these programs are reduced in. You're paying them per course or credit than the risk is also distributed. You're not. To paying up front for big pergram and things like that. So overall, would you say that the programs through mooks are more affordable than these other online degree programs and the target audience for the Mook programs are different than the traditional online programs? One study that's out on this. And again, it's with this. I sort of Georgia Tech class. They did a need study where for idiosyncratic reasons. No knew that they made in the emissions process grade cut scores. If you're below this cut score, you didn't have a chance getting omitted of your bump, the cut score, you could be considered. And of course, people just above and below that score not actually different from one another, you know, sort of a random ization. So you can look at people on either side of that cut scores and sees or what happens to them the people bound the cuts for go in many went into the George and the people who didn't get into the programs. They didn't pursue other options. So the argument that Josh and his colleagues make is that this is sort of genuinely creating new kinds of pathways for people. How big the demand is kind of remains to be seen. But. It's an interesting model. So what do you think is the future of mooks given this pivot to professional degrees? Macaulay Mito says that people often hope that new technologies will disrupt existing systems and oftentimes new technologies get domesticated by existing systems in so one future. You could magin here is what you might. Call productive domestication that in various nooks and crannies mostly focused on sort of professional education masters degree programs. There are ways that already indicated people can get some cheaper more efficient more in line with their work life, schedule degrees through these programs. If we saw that as the case, you know, one good lesson that might emerge from that is that as there are inevitably new technologies that catch the attention of education administrators education policy makers a good stance to take something along the lines of. Oh, there's probably like neat ways that this new technology can help us do what we're doing better particular kinds of ways. But it's unlikely that any. Regular new technology is gonna lead to sort of dramatic reorganization of of higher education, particularly around the most pressing challenges of how do we support first generation students? How do we create more access opportunities? Places physically distant from centres of higher. Education's those challenges. I think -nology can play a role in engaging. But in many ways, those challenges will remain sort of political challenges policy challenges where we make investments more so than new technologies that precedes grand reordering of things. I think much than you bet. Thanks so much for having me, Justin right kiss assistant, professor in the comparative media. Studies department at the Massachusetts Institute of technology. He could buy link to his piece at science bag dot org slash podcast. Stay tuned for Sarah Krispies interview with Christina Warner about mysterious crystals in the teeth of thousand year old skeleton. When

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