By conventional education standards, UW-Madison’s first round of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, had an extremely rough start.
The interest was indeed massive, with more than 135,000 students worldwide signing up for the four classes rolled out last year, the school’s first dive into higher education’s new frontier.
But once the initial euphoria subsided, officials were hit with a more sobering number: just 4,309 finished and earned a certificate of completion. That’s 3.2 percent.
The numbers are in line with similarly tiny completion rates for MOOCs offered at other universities nationally and continue a debate in higher education: Do completion rates matter in this new world?