Increasing the Interactivity in Software Engineering MOOCs - A Case Study

AbstractMOOCs differ from traditional university courses: instructors do not know the learners who have a diverse background and cannot talk to them in person due to the worldwide distribution. This has a decisive influence on the interactivity of teaching and the learning success in online courses. While typical online exercises such as multiple choice quizzes are interactive, they only stimulate basic cognitive skills and do not reflect software engineering working practices such as programming or testing. However, the application of knowledge in practical and realistic exercises is especially important in software engineering education. In this paper, we present an approach to increase the interactivity in software engineering MOOCs. Our interactive learning approach focuses on a variety of practical and realistic exercises, such as analyzing, designing, modeling, programming, testing, and delivering software stimulating all cognitive skills. Semi-automatic feedback provides guidance and allows reflection on the learned theory. We applied this approach in the MOOC software engineering essentials SEECx on the edX platform. Since the beginning of the course, more than 15,000 learners from more than 160 countries have enrolled. We describe the design of the course and explain how its interactivity affects the learning success.

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