Not surprising here - only 4% who start a MOOC actually complete the course - because most are just exploring and don't have a real reason to complete it. BUT "Ed Rock, who heads Penn's MOOC initiative, called the findings "entirely unsurprising and not at all troubling. Four or five percent of 1.6 million [current users] is still 80,000 people, and 80,000 people is a huge number to educate."
True enough - the other issue is that MOOCs are not necessarily helping the poor get a college education - but are mainly used by college educated people trying to get ahead in their jobs. Note - that is why Edevate is creating a way for business to use MOOCs to create training for their teams.
From my friends at STEM Connector -
Thousands sign up for free online courses, but few complete (Philly.com)
The University of Pennsylvania is at the forefront of a movement to experiment with free open online courses, but the undertaking, as its own researchers are finding out, has yielded mixed results. While Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have attracted millions of viewers and been heralded as a potential way to address skyrocketing tuition, very few of their viewers - 4 percent on average - actually complete the courses, according to the latest study by researchers in Penn's Graduate School of Education.
Academics to Udacity Founder: Told Ya (Chronicle)
In a new magazine profile of Sebastian Thrun, the Udacity founder calls his company’s massive open online courses a “lousy product” to use for educating underprepared college students. That assertion has prompted a chorus of I-told-you-sos from his critics in academe. In interviews for the Fast Company profile, Mr. Thrun reflected on the discouraging results of an experiment at San Jose State University in which instructors used Udacity’s online platform to teach mathematics. Some of the students were enrolled at the university, and some at a local high school.