One of the biggest criticism in the media about xMOOCs is the large number of drop-outs. I've just signed up for my first xMOOC, "Design: Creation of Artifacts in Society" at Coursera. It didn't take long (within the first day) for me to decide that I wasn't going to follow the course the way it was intended. Even in Face-to-Face graduate courses, I have taken the approach of making education work for me. If the course as structured doesn't meet my requirements, I work with the instructor to adapt the course to align with what I need. In that way, I help to form my own educational experiences.
It occurred to me that one of reasons for the high-rate of reported xMOOC drop-outs is that there is only one level of participation. You are either registered or not registered. As a result, if you simply wish to lurk, or pick-and-choose how you participate, you may very likely be counted as a "drop-out" rather than someone who succeeded in the course at the level in which they committed. I think this lack of levels of participation does a disservice to the xMOOCs. If students could self-select their level of participation, then we might actually be able to tell if they are "dropping out" or simply participating in the manner in which they intended all along. It also means that those who are running the xMOOCs could analyze the learner data with more insight into what is working and what isn't. In each case, it is a win-win. I just wonder why no one has done it yet?
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