Duke MOOCs Year in Review

One year ago, the first two Duke MOOCs had just finished.  Just over 19,000 students watched at least one of the course videos, and 2,500 students took the final assessments in those two courses.  So where have we gone from there?  The growth has been nothing short of amazing.  In 2013, Duke offered 16 MOOCs to students from all over the world which amassed over 850,000 enrollments.  Here are the numbers:

  • 876,354 total enrollments
  • 594,994 students visited the course website at least once
  • 443,256 enrolled students watched at least one video
  • 108,474 students attempted the first assessment activity in their course
  • 29,551 students completed their course*

While around 29,000 completions may seem low given such a high number of initial enrollments, it is important to keep in mind that most students do not enroll in a MOOC because they intend to complete all the coursework.  When Duke offered it’s first MOOC, only 9% of students said it was very important for them to earn a credential.  On the other hand, 43% said it was very important that the experience be personally enjoyable (see graph below).  In order to evaluate whether a MOOC “works”, we need to understand what “working” means to MOOC students.  We are currently analyzing surveys from our MOOC students to answer that question.


With 9 Duke MOOCs beginning in January, 2014 and many more to follow, we anticipate reaching even more learners in 2014.  From a research standpoint, our next project is to aggregate some of the data we have on how students are using MOOCs to gain a better understanding of what is working and where we can make the experience more valuable for both students and professors.

*Note: We define course completion as when a student attempts the final course assessment activity.