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Posted in: Learner News

Our first question came from Arjan Tupan from Ratingen-Lintorf, Germany, who asked via Twitter, “How do you measure the success of a MOOC?” Here are some thoughts directly from the edX team.

James Donald, Video Producer:

A MOOC is really fantastic if the student taking the course feels like the course was made for them personally, and if the student is fully engaged and wants to revisit immediately upon the release of new materials. On the flip side, the professor has to be happy with the product, meaning they should feel that their vision is represented well online — if both parties are happy, that is a successful MOOC.

Shelby Stack, Student Support:

The first thing that comes to mind is great, engaging content. I really loved HarvardX Immunity to Change and enjoyed the lectures and readings. The best MOOCs are well organized, easy to follow along and, most importantly, have engaged students and staff. The discussion forum can be a great tool to better understand the material and feel more involved in the course.

Olga Stroilova, Researcher and Data Scientist:

Before the course:

  • Interesting topic
  • Effective communications to acquire a wide range of students
  • Communicative, collaborative, knowledgeable, excited course team
  • Advanced planning to develop good content

During the course:

  • Release content on time
  • Short personal emails/posts/videos throughout course with feedback and highlights
  • Communications to learners to call out interesting / challenging assignments
  • Listen to course ‘temperature’ through performance on problem sets, activity in forum
  • Establish a feedback loop with local Meetups, social media groups

Course content:

  • Active videos interwoven with interesting in-lecture exercises Interesting problem sets that progress from easy to difficult exercises
  • Challenging exams that make students feel like they have learned something
  • Balance of different types of content: text, problems, videos, interactive
  • High-quality content
  • Thoughtful structure

Feedback and improvements:

  • Learn from your students — iteratively make your course better throughout the course and for future reruns
  • Learn from other courses — stay on top of trends in online education to find things that work best
  • Learn from pedagogical practices and research

Lyla Fischer, Product Manager:

When students can use what they learned in order to affect their life in meaningful ways. If they can advance their career, get a job, pick up a hobby, or make new friends.

What has been your most successful edX course? Tell us about it by emailing stories@edx.org.

By Patrick Cavallario, edX Community Manager


  1. […] July 25). Measureing the success of a MOOC: edx team members weigh in. [Blog]. edX. Retreived from http://blog.edx.org/measuring-success-mooc-edx-team-members Selingo, J. J. (2014, October 29). Demystifying the MOOC. The New York Times. Retrieved from […]

  2. […] has been written by far better and more eloquent people than me (here and here and here and here and here) on what makes a successful MOOC – all about interactions, journeys, optimum […]

  3. […] has been written by far better and more eloquent people than me (here and here and here and here and here) on what makes a successful MOOC – all about interactions, journeys, […]

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