Criteria for Video Engagement in a Biology MOOC
Sera Thornton, Ceri Riley, and Mary Ellen Wiltrout
We have designed a Molecular Biology massive open online course (MOOC) for a global audience. Among the learning aids offered are two types of short video segments: lecture videos (delivered unscripted by a professor) and deep dives (fully scripted and animated). While the engaged learners overwhelmingly watched the lecture video segments through to completion, some watched only a portion of each deep dive. As the deep dives take pains to follow evidence-based best practices and are more labor-intensive to make, further study of this difference in viewer retention would inform future course development decisions. Notably, course organization, length of video, lack of on-screen narrator, and identity of narrator show no correlation with this trend. Interestingly, learners who complete lecture videos but not deep dives have slightly higher overall course grades on average. Thus, our model is that learners with a higher degree of knowledge about the subject matter may feel that they do not need to complete the deep dive videos, while they feel the lecture videos are valuable. Future research will test this model.