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Thursday, December 5 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm
Understanding Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) as a Pathway to Employment for Low-Income Populations (30m)

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Massive Open Online Communities (MOOCs) are seen as an opportunity to gain an education; to gain new skills to prepare for high-paying jobs; and to gain upward mobility without incurring the increasingly crushing debt that comes with a university degree. Although MOOCs are seen as one possible path toward upward mobility, few studies have examined whether and/or how the populations with the most to gain leverage these resources. Our proposed research will investigate if MOOCs can help economically disadvantaged populations build the skills necessary to find employment and to achieve upward mobility. We will conduct a preliminary investigation of the experience of learners motivated to take MOOCs because of their inability to afford higher education; our goal is to better understand whether and how MOOCs can be a pathway to employment for these populations. Specifically, we propose to: 1) conduct an analysis of current University of Michigan (UM) Coursera-based course data to determine the number of these students enrolled in our courses; 2) provide an evaluation of student activities and performance in those courses; and 3) initiate interviews with targeted students to better understand their experience. Through these activities, we will begin to understand the ways in which the MOOC experiences may affect employment or potential employment for students who are not currently well served by more traditional forms of higher education.


Thursday December 5, 2013 3:30pm - 4:00pm
Meeting Room 6

Attendees (4)