Two Blog Posts for Analysis

I've extracted the text of these posts for clarity, but users should look at the text-in-context at the blogger's site. [mcm]


Alan Levine, at cogdogblog

If a course is going to be pumped up on the massiveness of its open enrollment, it ought to own how much or little comes out at the other end.

I still maintain that the idea of a “dropout” in an open course– where it take no effort or no skin in the game to drop in — is meaningless

The use of the term”dropout” in an open course is a signal of a major lack of understanding of open learning. — Alan Levine (@cogdog) July 25, 2012

But allow me to ponder some numbers just shared for the Coursera Social Network Analysis class. I signed up for this out of a real desire to be able to do some (and understand more) of the things Tony Hirst does.

I watched two weeks worth of videos, did the multiple guess quizzes, but flubbed out on the first assignment. I found the videos way long in places the instructor was reading my stuff I could scan on a web page, and once we got started, I never really saw any of the first grab of interest to help spark my motivation to do more. It went right to theory and tossing numbers and settings in Gephi, and there was no sense of WHY I would be doing these things.

Now I have to own my responsibility here, I gave it not my fullest attention, and once I had missed the assignment, it seemed pointless to catch that speeding train. Heck, I could not even see the caboose.

You see, the course moves at the speed it wants to, not mine. This mode does not use any of the affordances of online learning to be able to flex time and space for me to do work- it just marches on everyone rowing the boat together (or falling over).

But let’s look at the summary information sent out this past week:

Some participation stats: 61,285 students registered, 25,151 watched at least one video, 15,391 tried at least one in-video quiz, 6,919 submitted at least one assignment, 2,417 took the final exam. 1303 earned the regular certificate. Of the 145 students submitting a final project, 107 earned the programming (i.e. ‘with distinction’) version of the certificate.

61,285 students registered.. I was one
25,151 watched at least one video (41%)… I saw two actually
15,391 tried at least one in-video quiz (25%)… I did about 3 of these, but found it was more just clicking to try and guess the right answer more than learning.
6,919 submitted at least one assignment (11%)… That does not include me, and is not a stat I would be proud of.
2417 people took the final exam (4%)… the class is pretty empty now
1303 earned the regular certificate (2%).. Bueller? Bueller? TO earn this certificate, you have to achieve “80% of the points” – Its not clear if that includes the final or is just the weekly assignment points. If I am reading this correctly, a smidgen over half of the people who took the final exam earned a certificate.
145 students submitted a final project (0.24%)… I would guess someone who submitted a project did the whole class
107 earned the programming (i.e. ‘with distinction’) version of the certificate (0.17%)

Do you need to see this as chart gunk?

[chart inserted here]

So in the end, we have 107 students who got the more personalized attention (doing a project, getting feedback, being part of the Google hangout presentations).

This class had one professor and 3 TA, about a 1 : 27 teacher/student ratio.

That is pretty much the size of a normal section of a class, it is the size of one of our ds106 sections at UMW.

Now there are a whole raft of reasons why people do not get to this end of the pipe, many, liem in my case, fall on my own lack of drive to really push this up the hierarchy of where I put my attention.

But I submit the methodology of this course too has a large influence as well- it did not hold the attention of the bulk of its students, like 98% of them.

Let me repeat, 98% of the people who signed up for this course did not get the certificate, or 60,059 people. NOW THAT IS MASSIVE (as in hemorrhaging).

Yet the bulk of the hyper and fervor on MOOCs is the massive numbers of enrollments whichm, frankly, when you look at these numbers, it is the wrong end of donkey (to quote Neil Young), or maybe in this case… MOOcows.

Someone ought own those numbers coming out the end.

Bueller? Bueller?

A Simple Process for Getting Unstuck

Amber Rae

[image of Einstein, with quote, inserted here]

When we live as our best selves, we’re poised to do our best work, build the most fulfilling relationships, and ultimately create a better world. When at our best, we live in integrity with our values and beliefs, inspiring those around us to do the same.

A past client of mine was a CEO at a $100M company. He came to me one day and said that if he kept doing what he was doing, he’d have a heart attack in the next five years. Though he appeared happy and successful on the outside, he was dying on the inside. This was a major red flag for me and so we worked on redesigning and reengineering his life, with an emphasis on self-care and restructuring his business commitments. Within a few months, he sold his company, started another, and is now off living a more aligned life.

Another past client of mine, a stock trader in Hong Kong, came to me feeling anxious in his work and stuck in his career. He aspired to start his own thing but wasn’t sure where to begin. Within three months he went from spreadsheets and cubicles to his camera and passport. He’s been traveling the world since, taking photos of the people and places that inspire him. He recently became a featured Instagram photographer, enabling him to reach and inspire more people with his work.

What I’ve realized in working with clients of all shapes and sizes is that we all get stuck. We all experience ebbs and flows. We all find ourselves in ruts. It’s abnormal not to. Here’s a simple process to help you identify what’s not working and begin making changes today.

Step one: Audit.

Reflect on the different areas of your life. Ask yourself, “Is _ making me feel like the best version of myself?”

Is your work? Your community? Relationship? Health routine? Eating habits? Morning routine? Spending patterns? Communication style? Etc.

Make note of which area(s) you want to focus on improving.

Step two: Manifestation.

Nisha Moodley recently shared with me “The Manifestion Equation” which is a tool for actualizing the changes you desire.

Here’s how it works: Appreciation + Intention + Intuitive Action = The Manifestation Equation

In thinking about one of your areas of growth, apply the equation:

Appreciate. Notice the present state without judgement. Think about the facts without adding drama. (Ie: “I’m ready to lose 10 lbs,” not “I’m overweight and unattractive and need to lose weight.”)


Set an intention. Imagine yourself reaching your goal. A memory is a feeling about the past and an intention is a feeling about the future. So think about the ideal future and let yourself marvel at how good it feels. Paint yourself a picture of that happy place.


Take Intuitive Action. What is one small step you will take today to begin manifesting what you desire? Ask yourself this question each day for the next week. Act and repeat.

Whether your work is currently unfulfilling, your exercise routine is out of whack, or your relationship isn’t where it used to be, small steps taken today will create large changes in the coming weeks. You got this.

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Thanks to Farhad, Nisha, and Zach for inspiring this post.

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