Richard Boyatzis’s MOOC attracts more than 188,000 students
Back in May 2013, Richard Boyatzis, PhD, Distinguished University Professor, H.R. Horvitz Professor of Family Business and professor of organizational behavior, launched his first free massive open online course (MOOC) titled Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence. His foray into this new medium of higher education was met with great enthusiasm as more than 82,000 students signed up to learn about “resonant” leadership and develop emotional intelligence by experiencing mindfulness, hope and compassion. Almost one year later, Boyatzis’s course is gearing up for its third run. So far, Boyatzis’s course has accumulated more than 188,000 enrolled students over the past two sessions.
Since 2011, with the introduction of MOOCs from Stanford University, the number of MOOCs has risen above 1200 courses, with topics ranging from education and teaching to business and management and has attracted at least 10 million people. These MOOCs are taught by more than 1,300 instructors affiliated with more than 200 universities around the world.
The evolution of education from the lectern to the web, and, by extension, to the homes of millions of eager students is truly a remarkable step in expanding access to higher education. However, in a study conducted by the University Of Pennsylvania Graduate School Of Education of 1 million MOOC participants, only 4 percent completed their courses. Boyatzis’s courses have seen 5.3 and 5.6 percent completion rates for his first and second sessions, respectively. While these rates may seem disheartening, they point to the more realistic and encouraging corollary of MOOCs-- motivated learning.
“One of our objectives, as faculty, is to excite and motivate people about learning,” Boyatzis explains. “I don’t see completion as a big deal or even a worthy criterion of impact,” he adds, on the note about MOOC completion rates. “I see enrollment, activeness and quality of the assignments and interaction on discussion forums and social media as the real measures of impact.”
Boyatzis connects the thousands of students in his online course with graduate students in his organizational development class, MPOD 470, at the Weatherhead School of Management to create a hybrid environment of engaged discussion built around the participation of students in class and from around the world.
“The MOOC experience, or even part of it, may motivate someone to seek more formal courses or even a degree program,” he says.
With two professors currently offering MOOCs, Weatherhead is an innovator in expanding access for interested students to higher education. Michael Goldberg, visiting assistant professor of design & innovation, is currently offering his MOOC through Coursera titled, Beyond Silicon Valley: Growing Entrepreneurship in Transitioning Economies.