Surveys gauge MOOC demographics

June 6, 2012

Early data from 2 major massive open online course (MOOC) providers hint at what type of student takes these courses and why they decided to do so. Among 14,045 students in Coursera's Machine Learning course who responded to a demographic survey, half were professionals currently working in the tech industry, and many were enrolled in some kind of traditional PSE. The most common response to a question about why students chose to take the course was that they were "just curious about the topic." Across all Coursera courses, nearly three-quarters reside outside the US (the biggest foreign markets have been Brazil, Britain, India, and Russia). Udacity reports that more than 75% of the students enrolled in the company's first course, Artificial Intelligence, last fall were looking to "improve their skills relevant for either current or future employment." Udacity says "a great majority" of students registered for its 6 current courses live abroad. Inside Higher Ed