Great Reads: Initial trends in enrollment and completion of massive open online courses

This solid article is by Katy Jordan (Her fascinating blog). The article, which seeks to understand the student relationship to MOOC platforms, is published at The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning.

Here is the Abstract and there are multiple media links below.

The past two years have seen rapid development of massive open online courses (MOOCs) with the rise of a number of MOOC platforms. The scale of enrolment and participation in the earliest mainstream MOOC courses has garnered a good deal of media attention. However, data about how the enrolment and completion figures have changed since the early courses is not consistently released. This paper seeks to draw together the data that has found its way into the public domain in order to explore factors affecting enrolment and completion. The average MOOC course is found to enroll around 43,000 students, 6.5% of whom complete the course. Enrolment numbers are decreasing over time and are positively correlated with course length. Completion rates are consistent across time, university rank, and total enrolment, but negatively correlated with course length. This study provides a more detailed view of trends in enrolment and completion than was available previously, and a more accurate view of how the MOOC field is developing.

Full Text: HTML  PDF  MP3   EPUB
Here is the data she gathered.
Note the introduction to better understand her goals and process.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have the potential to enable free university-level education on an enormous scale. A concern often raised about MOOCs is that although thousands enrol for courses, a very small proportion actually complete the course. The release of information about enrollment and completion rates from MOOCs appears to be ad hoc at the moment – that is, official statistics are not published for every course. This data visualisation draws together information about enrollment numbers and completion rates from across online news stories and blogs

MOOC Completion Rates: The Data


Panel: Do you even need to go to film school? Conclusions! (Part 5) #elearner #Pi8 #PTW15 #onlineeducation

And finally that dreaded question all tech-savvy self-guided learners are asking with the emergence of online education:

Will film school become obsolete as all the skills and tools are available for free or low cost online?

Here are some highlights:

  • There will always be people who need the structure of a film school; they will need the guidance of an instructor.
  • Film schools teach within the parameters of the skill. If you go to light a scene and you don’t have the 6 ton truck of lights, you still need to know how to light the scene.  Through school you learn there are many ways to skin a cat.  It is about learning to understand where and when you are in the situation. A film school education can lead you to this understanding.
  • eLearning offers the place where theory and concept are delivered at your own time and at your own pace and the classroom and the field will be used for doing and making and getting teacher and peer feedback.
  • The eLearning massive open online class and highly populated communities are great for the mere numbers. In a class of 20 you may have 3 or 4 highly motivated students, but out of ten thousand students, 2000 are superstars. You are more likely to build a network with many more highly motivated filmmakers. Instead of spending a year trying to figure out an answer, you can just ask someone you met online that knows the answer.
  • Every lesson you can think of is online. At first as a teacher, I was worried that they don’t need me anymore.

I realized that people don’t  necessarily know what that thing is that they need to know right now.  They know there are 10,000 things they can go learn how to do. Without someone experienced seeing what they are doing right now and saying this is your next step. I’ve been there before.

  • Film schools offer that mentor or curator role to professionally guide a student’s education.
  • Online education will not do away with traditional educators, but it should free them up. The role will change.  They must know who the students are and know where they are in their knowledge and experience, so they can work as a guide and give the students a little nudge to move beyond each individual’s developmental level.


Yes, there is still a need for film school, both artsy and technical. It also seems very clear there is huge value in these traditional institutions embracing and helping cultivate online learning resources to work as supplemental education, so the students have a complete education. They should additionally move towards the flipped classroom model so students can use the time in the classroom for primarily doing and making, and teachers can become guides, curators, and mentors.

Notes for #Filmmaking and #eLearning Panel, TODAY! @ 6pm. Follow Live Tweets

As part of the Philadelphia Independent Film Festival & Philadelphia TechWeek, on Tuesday, April 21st, @eLearnermedia, and @PhilaIndie present a Panel Discussion & Collaborative Brainstorm: Will Online Education Transform Filmmaking?

To Follow Live Tweets


  • #Pi8Talk
  • #UFF (Underground Film Forum)
  • #PIFF (Philadelphia Independent Film Festival)
  • #Pi8 (Philadelphia Independent Year 8)
  • #PTW15 (Philly Tech Week 2015)


  • @PhilaIndie
  • @elearnermedia

Some Questions to Prompt Conversation

Panelist Led Questions:

  • As a film educator, what student needs are the traditional model of film school falling short of addressing? (Summer)
  • From your experience using online education to learn about filmmaking, what has been helpful and what ed tech has really missed the mark? (Brittany)
  • Through the use of educational technology, how can the film business be more easily understandable to students? (Ben)

Open Discussion:

  • Without consideration of existing tech limitations, what would be some useful online learning or training tools that can be delivered anywhere on any device and would help film and video students in the field?
  • If all art forms require a deep understanding of what our forbearers accomplished, then how can online education be evolved to better teach the tradition of film and filmmaking?
  • What are benefits and pitfalls of online classes that are designed as massive open online courses (MOOCs)?
  • Considering the unique technical needs of filmmakers, how can educational technology be utilized at home, in the classroom, and in the field to offer more of a mentor and apprentice dynamic?
  • Discuss examples of video and filmmaking process that can’t be adequately addressed online.

Traditional Schools, Degree Programs, and other Schools With or Without Online Courses

Traditional Program

Online and Hybrid Programs

Asynchronous Classes and Massive Open Online Courses 



Additional Online Learning Resources

Articles and Other Resources Worth Exploring