Report: Students from 171 Countries Enrolled in Wesleyan Coursera Classes

Andy Szegedy-Mazak, the Jane A. Seney Professor of Greek, professor of classical studies, spoke about his experience teaching a massive open online course (MOOC) during a Academic (Technology) Roundtable lunch Nov. 6. Szegedy-Mazak is one of seven Wesleyan faculty teaching a MOOC throughout the Coursera platform.

Andy Szegedy-Maszak, the Jane A. Seney Professor of Greek, professor of classical studies, spoke about his experience teaching a massive open online course (MOOC) during a Academic (Technology) Roundtable lunch Nov. 6. Szegedy-Maszak is one of seven Wesleyan faculty teaching a MOOC throughout the Coursera platform.

In September 2012, Wesleyan announced a new partnership with Coursera, a company offering the public access to free online courses from top colleges and universities. Wesleyan was the first liberal arts institution focused on the undergraduate experience to join the company.

Seven Wesleyan faculty, including Wesleyan President Michael Roth, are teaching courses through the new platform in 2013.

Thanks to a recent report by the Office of Institutional Research, the university is now aware of background information about its Coursera students. In early 2013, Institutional Research administered a survey to more than 200,000 students enrolled in Wesleyan’s Coursera course offerings. About 28,170 students, or 13.6 percent of those invited, participated in the survey.

“We asked students to provide demographic and other background information, to share their perceptions of Wesleyan, and to assess their course experiences,” said Michael Whitcomb, director of institutional research.

Survey results point to the composite Wesleyan Coursera student as a single, college educated, international female without children in her 20’s or 30’s who works in the field of education/training and is sufficiently affluent to own a computer.

The report shows how Coursera increased Wesleyan’s presence across the globe and strengthened many participants’ views of Wesleyan.

“Students report favorable opinions of the overall quality of their course, its instruction and learning materials, and the Coursera online platform. Our MOOC offerings also allowed many individuals to stay connected to Wesleyan,” Whitcomb said. “The percent of students rating course and instructional quality as good or outstanding is as strong as, if not surpassing, what we typically see in our internal course evaluations.”

According to the report:

* Wesleyan Coursera students reside in 171 countries and every continent other than Antarctica. One-third of all students reside in the U.S.

* Wesleyan Coursera students living in the U.S. come from all 50 States, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Fourteen percent of all students hail from California, and nine percent from New York.

* 81 percent of survey participants who are U.S. residents age 25 and above have at least a college degree.

* The median reported income for U.S. respondents is between $70,000 and $79,900.

* 52 percent of all respondents said they would probably take another Wesleyan Coursera course. 38 percent said they “definitely would.”

* 22.9 percent of all Wesleyan Coursera students worked in education, training or library services. 11.4 percent worked in computer or mathematical occupations. 10.6 percent worked in management positions.

* 84.6 percent used a personal computer to access courser. 6.7 percent used a tablet. 1.2 percent used a smartphone.

* Despite making up only a small fraction of all survey respondents, more than 1,100 respondents are affiliated with Wesleyan in some way other than their Coursera enrollment (e.g., alumni, parents, etc.).

Andy Szegedy-Mazak shows off a illustration created by an anonymous Coursera student.

Andy Szegedy-Maszak shows off a illustration created by an anonymous Coursera student.

At an Academic (Technology) Roundtable event on Nov. 6, Andy Szegedy-Maszak, professor of Classical Studies and Jane A. Seney Professor of Greek, spoke about his experience teaching his Coursera class, “The Ancient Greeks,” which has now been offered twice, in spring and fall of 2013.

During an Academic (Technology) Roundtable event on Nov. 6, Andy Szegedy-Maszak, the Jane A. Seney Professor of Greek, professor of classical studies, spoke about his experience teaching his Coursera class.

Creating a Coursera class involved writing a syllabus designed for delivery over seven weeks, with six 12-to-20-minute video lectures each week. With staff from Wesleyan’s New Media Lab doing the recording, Szegedy-Maszak presented his lectures, usually in one take, in a small room in Fisk Hall. Once edited, the lectures were uploaded to Coursera; this fall more than 23,600 students, from all over the world, signed up, at no cost, to take the class.
In addition to presenting online course material, the Coursera platform allows instructors and students to create forums for online discussion.
“In my class, the students created discussion forums on everything from Phillip II and Alexander the Great to a thread about their favorite Greek foods,” Szegedy-Maszak said. He added, “We can offer a great deal through Coursera and make Wesleyan’s presence known throughout the world.”

Read more about Wesleyan Coursera in this past Wesleyan Connection story.

 

 

 

 

Olivia Drake

Olivia (M.A.L.S. '08) is editor of the Wesleyan Connection newsletter and campus photographer. I have two dogs, five chickens and 30 house plants. I like snow, photographing firemen and enjoying "stinky" cheeses. Send me your story ideas to newsletter@wesleyan.edu.