Toward CS1 at Scale: Building and Testing a MOOC-for-Credit Candidate

Abstract: If a MOOC is to qualify for equal credit as an existing on-campus offering, students must achieve comparable outcomes, both educational and attitudinal. We have built a MOOC for teaching CS1 with the intent of offering it for degree credit. To test its eligibility for credit, we delivered it as an online for-credit course for two semesters to 197 on-campus students who selected the online version rather than a traditional version. We compared the demographics, outcomes, and experiences of these students to the 715 students in the traditional version. We found the online students more likely to be older; to be underrepresented minorities; and to have previously failed a CS class. We then found that our online students attained comparable learning outcomes to students in the traditional section. Finally, we found that our online students perceived the online course quality more positively and required less time to achieve those comparable learning outcomes.

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