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A month or so ago I signed up for a basic course on how to play guitar offered by the Berklee music school.

The course was to include six lessons taught by a professor at the school.

It was offered online. And it was free of charge.

I attended exactly two of the classes, then walked away.


Well, I knew the material. I've been playing guitar since I was a sophomore in high school.

Second, I was going to have to play some music, then send it to the professor via the Internet, and I didn't want to mess with doing that.

I have no idea how many other people signed up for the Berklee course and no idea how many dropped out.

But, I am betting that I was not alone by a long shot.

Turns out that research shows that MOOCs are hugely popular -- at the outset.

Just recently, six professors from MIT and Harvard published a report in "Research & Practice in Assessment," a professional journal, in which they state that at least one MOOC that they studied was a massive flop.

The course, called "Circuits and Electronics," began in March 2012, the first MOOC developed by edX, the online consortium led by MIT and Harvard. The course ended in June 2012. More than 154,000 students signed up to take this course online.

Of that number 24,000 tried the first problem set. About 10,000 made it to the mid-term exam. And 7,-000 finished the course and earned certificates.

That is a completion rate of less than 5 percent.


The researchers indicate that this is a problem for all MOOCs.

Makes me feel better. A little.

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