I’d like to add to Alan’s questioning of the concept of “drop-out.” It’s highly likely the majority of enrollments stemmed from the viral amplification of the significance of the course for influencing the future acceptance of alternative models of teaching and learning. Enrollments skyrocketed as the course was promoted through blogs and Twitter. The water-cooler conversations were around, “Are you participating in the MOOC?”
George was a keynote speaker at a local conference during the course, and I had the privilege of sitting with him and joining in one of the live Elluminate sessions. I questioned the tracking of referral sources for enrolling students, as well as the relevance of prior knowledge, based on the fact that so many had heard about the course through media central to the participation in the course.
I think it is important to consider motivation for enrollment. How many of us enrolled so we could be a part of something big? How many enrolled because of social influence or reputation management? How many enrolled because of research interest? How many enrolled as doubters, hoping to observe failure? I doubt there is ground to consider relevance of “drop-outs,” in the traditional, academic sense. Enrollment, for many, was parallel to wearing a “cause” bracelet. We wanted to show support and interest, and promote the concept, but never intended to participate as traditional students. I’m not a drop-out, I’m a learner.