Grants for MOOC Research

Ann Priestley’s list of legal MOOCs now enables researchers in the legal community to identify a sizeable number of law-related MOOCs offered by several different providers, and to design studies of them.

It so happens that the Gates Foundation is funding the MOOC Research Initiative, offering grants “in the range of $10,000 – $25,000,” for the study of various aspects of MOOCs.

The application deadline is 7 July 2013.

Here are more details of the grant program:

Potential grant areas include:

Student experiences and outcomes

  • How can MOOCs help students succeed in remedial and introductory coursework?
  • What are the challenges, issues, and barriers to engaging less academically prepared and less self-motivated students in MOOC coursework? What are promising approaches?
  • Can MOOCs effectively customize/personalize the learning experience for students?
  • For which students, disciplines, types of learning and contexts are MOOCs more/less effective?
  • What perceptions about MOOCs exist among students, faculty, administrators, and state/regulatory leaders? How do these perceptions influence current and future opportunities for MOOCs to serve the higher education community and, in particular, low-income and disadvantaged young adult populations?

Learning Design

  • How can MOOCs improve other types of instruction, including blended learning, face to face and online instructional experiences for academically weak students?
  • What additional supports effectively help students and faculty succeed in MOOCs? What MOOC features support social and emotional factors for students?
  • Are some MOOC platforms more successful with academically less advanced students than others?
  • What MOOC models exist; which design components drive impact for non-self-directed learners and what additional wrap-around supports need to be added to online or blended approaches?
  • What institutional, pedagogical, learning design, technological, and business models are currently employed and which have the most potential to have a positive effect for our learner population?

Cost, Performance Metrics and Learner Analytics

  • What data captured from MOOCs are most informative, and how might such data be accessed and used for the advancement of learning?
  • What are the costs associated with the development, maintenance, instruction, and other MOOC operations?
  • What business models have are most effective for different types of institutions and MOOC platform providers?
  • Is there a realistic business model for MOOCs focused on remedial and introductory coursework?
  • What are appropriate metrics to assess the success of students in MOOC delivered introductory coursework?
  • How do MOOC dropout rates compare with other models of education (including, distance education, online learning, blended learning, and in-classroom learning)? What accounts for differences and what is the impact of those variances on learner motivation and success?

MOOCs: Policy and Systemic Impact

  • Which factors contributed to a university’s decision to offer a MOOC or join a MOOC provider?
  • What models for maintaining and improving MOOC quality exist?
  • Which criteria do universities employ to evaluate the impact, or define the value, of MOOCs?
  • Which department(s) within a university lead or drive MOOC initiatives? How are other stakeholders within the university included?
  • What are the prominent critiques of MOOCs and their potentially negative impact on the existing educational systems?

Alternative MOOC Formats

  • What models of MOOCs exist beyond large centralized providers?
  • How are existing technology providers (such as Learning Management Systems vendors and publishers) responding to MOOCs?
  • Do MOOC models that blend online with in-person learning influence success of low-income students?


For more details, please see the complete announcement.

HT @mhawksey

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