Thursday, 24 October 2013

Statement of Accomplishment - What does it mean to you?

After participating in many MOOCs, to be precise five MOOCs: Edfuture (CHFE), Learning Design for 21st Century Curriculum (OLDS-MOOC), Open Education (H817), Moons a Short Introduction (accidentally registered on Futurelearn Alpha) and Learn to Program- The Fundamentals on Coursera, I received my first "Statement of Accomplishment".

Statement of Accomplishment for Learn to Program: The Fundamentals MOOC
I feel satisfied to have received this "Statement of Accomplishment" even though I know that I may never use it (for those who didn't know, I have prior experience in software industry as a software engineer). It made me think about why I feel satisfied with this piece of evidence that I fail to see any potential use (at the moment).

I have always been a late starter in MOOCs. In this particular MOOC though I managed to join in week two I didn't realize that there were deadlines each week for Exercises (something similar to home work). This being my first Coursera course I was not familiar with the terminology and I didn't realize I had to look at 'Course Logistics' to know what I was supposed to do. Only when I realized in week 6 that the assignments and final exam in itself did not add up to 70%  I started doing the Exercises. So for me, this 'certificate of accomplishment' came as a surprise by just managing to achieve the grade required. So perhaps it made a difference.

Recently I was involved in a research project with Prof. Shirley Williams and Mr. Pat Parslow, which looked at participants perspectives of success, completion and dropout in a MOOC mainly in a Higher Education setting. We are writing up at the moment but I will soon share our findings in another blog.

In the interviews something that came across strongly was the need for a 'sense of closure'. Many participants associated the statement of accomplishment with 'closure'. Some participants confessed that they were motivated to get the 'certificate' (they were referring to the statement of accomplishment offered free of charge). Some participants confessed of being Start-End person meaning if I start something I will end it and this statement of accomplishment meant that they reached this 'end' - again sense of closure. How important do you think this sense of 'closure' in a MOOC?

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