Dr. Caputo and myself have come extremely far in our research project and I can say I am very proud to be apart of it. We launched our MOOC, 2014 Congressional Elections, on March 3rd, 2014. Since then, we have filmed well over 15 lectures and are still in the process of filming the remaining lectures. Dr. Caputo has covered topics ranging from campaign financing to specific primaries happening currently. We got a very good turn out on our course, well over 40 students. This is extremely good news for our research because it will give us statistics to look at. This will also allow us to compare the impacts this type of learning has on the normal college campus. This is because we will compare test results between the MOOC students and Dr. Caputo Pace University students.
When we first began the research this past summer, I wasn’t completely sure how it would all turn out but I am very happy with our results. Although we do not have any definite answers because the MOOC course will run through April, we do have substantial data. I am working very closely with Dr. Caputo to ensure that the presentation we make in early May will be the best it can be. I have gotten so much out of this research including: learning time management, learning everything there is to know about congressional elections and learning how to do in depth research on the internet, as well as, in the library. Once I have more results to present, I will post one last blog in continuation of this blog.
Although our research project started slow in the beginning, it has certainly picked up and is looking to be something memorable. Dr Caputo and I worked over the winter break to perfect the lectures we will be teaching during our MOOC- Congressional Elections 2014. Over the winter break we also launched our website, CongressionalElections2014.com. This website was created to give anyone around the world insight into our MOOC and what we are planning to do with it moving forward. In the beginning of us launching it, the website didn’t pick up as many viewers as we had hoped, but as we approach our MOOCs launch date (March 3rd), we are seeing some heavy traffic on the website. This is positive news because we hope to attract as many students as possible to our work.
Each week will be broken down into mini lectures taught by Dr Caputo. We first narrowed down what we want to teach in each lecture then we worked on takeaway questions. These questions will be used to gage how much the student has learned. Recently, in this past week, Dr Caputo and I have begun filming the lectures for the MOOC. We have already completed about a week’s worth of lectures and hope to get another two weeks done next week. This is due to the fact that, the course’ shell is already up on CourseSites. CourseSites is the platform we are using to launch our course. As we approach our launch date, things seem to be getting much more exciting. In order to continue traffic on our MOOC and our website, we have also gotten into contact with major MOOC promoting websites to feature our course and we are hoping this will bring more students in.
Personally I have learned a great deal from Dr Caputo about the congressional elections that take place in our nation. The lectures are short and concise and I think the students will enjoy them, the same way I did watching them being filmed.
The only challenge we are facing is the challenge of the unknown. We are hoping for a major turnout so that we can get some really strong data. But as everything else, you can never be too sure about who is going to take the MOOC or is after signing up, students who are going to stick with it.
The research being done by Dr. Caputo and myself is going very well. We have gone from having the large concept of a MOOC to having points and lectures we want to eventually incorporate into the MOOC. One of out biggest tasks when launching this MOOC is to advertise it in a way that students around the country will become interested. After sometime, Dr. Caputo and I have decided that one of the best ways to advertise our MOOC is through a self-created website. This website will have information about the MOOC, important dates, information about any resources needed and information about Dr. Caputo and myself. We are in the process of creating this website. After having taken MOOC courses myself, I believe this website will be a great tool for both Dr. Caputo and the students taking his course. The website will also have a blog where students can discuss how they’re feeling and what they are learning. We plan on launching the website some time in Mid-December so keep an eye out for that!
Dr. Caputo is also working in conjunction with a professor from Pace University, Pleasantville campus. This is in the hopes of getting some keen insight into how MOOC’s really work, due to the fact that the professor from Pleasantville is currently teaching a MOOC. Some other work we are doing is: keeping a close eye on the Congressional races going on at the moment or have just recently passed. We are trying to make this course as relevant to the students as possible. Dr. Caputo and I have narrowed down what we want to teach the students in the MOOC as well as his class next semester. Due to the fact that we have not launched the MOOC yet, I don’t have specific data to present at this time. As time progresses and we launch the MOOC as well as the website, we will see how both the MOOC and research is coming along.
The research that is being conducted by Dr. Caputo and myself can essentially be entitled “MOOC’s: How Can We Measure the Magnitude of Learning in a Virtual Classroom vs. a Classic Classroom”. We are hoping to measure how much a student learns in a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) compared to how much knowledge they gain in a classroom. Dr. Caputo will be launching a MOOC this upcoming spring semester, entitled “2014 U.S Congressional Elections: Implications for American Public Policy”. Along with this, he will be teaching this course for credit at Pace University. Our goals for this research are: one, find an effective way to measure what the students are learning in the MOOC (whether through an interactive activity, quiz, survey at the end of the lesson, etc.), two, find a way to teach the lessons so that many of the students who signed up for the course will continue to be interested, three, compare how the students who are taking the course online do compared to those who are taking it for credit. Are the students who had interest in the subject going to do better then those who are paying for the course? Our last goal is to show this comparison through numerical statistics that can lead to a greater understanding of the impact MOOC’s are having on education.
Something I expect to achieve through this research is to become a MOOC expert. These past few weeks, I have been reading anything and everything that involved MOOC’s and online courses. This way, I can be an asset to Dr. Caputo when he does launch his course. I also expect to achieve a social network for the MOOC that will allow students to feel comfortable enough to discuss how they are doing in the MOOC and what is giving them trouble. This way I can gage how the students are doing compared to those in Dr. Caputo’s classroom. I hope to learn more about how the world of online classes is impacting the typical classroom. Are we going into an era where technology will become the new campus and a college campus is merely a resource? Will it no longer matter whether you receive a college degree or MOOC certificate? Are you just as qualified with the certificate? I hope to be able to answer all of these questions when I conclude my research.
Some methods I will use to answer the research questions are first educate myself; look into statistics of how MOOC students do, how long their interest typically lasts, and how involved the student becomes. Through the different websites that offer these MOOCs (Coursera, Coursesites, EdX), this research may be available to the instructor. I will use these statistics to compare to the students in Dr. Caputo’s class next semester. I also plan on helping Dr. Caputo create the questionnaires in the end of the lessons so that the student doesn’t feel overwhelmed but simply feels as if they have a chance to show how much they’ve learned in their lesson.
Dr. Caputo and myself hope to answer all of these questions by the end of this research project. MOOCs can truly revolutionize the classroom.