Reading Jonathan Rees’ latest rant about MOOCs “MOOCs and the promise of higher education“, a new measure of effectiveness occurred to me. I totally disagree with Jonathan’s comments about a need for a denominator. MOOCs are such that I don’t think the number of students who initially sign up is a measure of anything, except perhaps in marketing effectiveness. It tells us nothing about the courses effectiveness.
I do think, however, if MOOCs are to “change” education and in particular if they are in any way going to change the economics of education, then there is an important metric we need – which we are not seeing. I’d like to know the total cost of producing a MOOC, and compare that to the number of students who successfully complete it. The cost per successful student, might actually tell us if the MOOC is meeting its goal from an economic perspective.
Does putting money into high production values on a MOOC increase completion rates? That, I think, would be an interesting question. I’m pretty sure someone has the data – perhaps the Coursera folks could tell us a little something about the relationship?