Cal Straumsheim has an interesting article over at Inside higher Ed about Keith Devlin and his Introduction to Mathematical Thinking MOOC (offered through Coursera). The MOOC is entering its 4th offering and Devlin talks about tweaks that have been made to boost student engagement. These changes have increased student persistence through the first couple of weeks.
This is interesting in that it shows–as with all educational endeavors–that course offerings need to be reflected back on and adjustments made. It does not require watering down the content to make a course more successful. Critics also have to realize the completion rates for courses that are open for all to try are going to be lower that restricted access courses. People are interested in trying things out. But life does happen and some find that what they thought was interesting is not that engaging beyond a certain point. We do not all need to be experts in all fields. What is wrong with someone enrolling and taking away what they want to take away, even if it is short of completing the course. Worry about complete of those who are taking it for credit and have to complete to finish a program.