OpenFiction [Blog]

On student use

Posted in Evaluation, MIT OpenCourseWare, OpenCourseWare by scarsonmsm on September 14, 2009

Some additional context around the issue of student use of MIT OpenCourseWare.  I happen to have had to pull together a basic profile of student use, the substance of which is included below.  In addition to being as big a user group as independent learners, students also come to the site with greater frequency and tend to have a longer history of coming to the site.

Table 4 is interesting on a number of fronts. The question was “What three types of content were most useful to you in completing the task for which you came to the site today?”  It highlights the value of video (keep in mind that only 30 of 1930+ courses have video lectures) and it also shows the value of the text-based content as well.  In particular, assignment and exam solutions are interesting in that they illustrate the value to students of being able to self-assess.  All of this materials data needs to be viewed in the light of production cost as well, with video still being (for us anyway) significantly more costly to produce.



Students are 42% of our visitors, with students accounting for 50-58% of total audience in the developing regions of East Asia, South Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

Table 1

Students visit with greater frequency than other visitor types.
– 62% of returning students report visiting the site daily or weekly (Self learners – 49%; Educators – 39%)

Retuning students have made more prior visits than other roles.

– 39% of retuning students have made 25 or more prior visits to the site (Self learners – 32%; Educators – 32%)

Student use internationally is predominantly at the undergraduate level.

Table 2

Students use the site primarily to enhance personal knowledge and complement courses they are taking and enjoy high rates of success in doing so.

Table 3

Across all scenarios, students value video lectures, lecture notes, assignments and solutions, and exams and solutions, and animations/simulations.

Table 4

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