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Project#2 Reflection &Objectives Addressed

Project#2: The Potential Impact of Class Type on Completion in MOOCs


Objectives Addressed: 1, 2, 3, & 7

This project was submitted for ETR 521, in which the focus was on designing a study of an

educational research problem, using appropriate methodologies, and applying statistical methods

of analysis that are appropriate for educational data. Therefore, the project paper focused on the

phenomenon of completion in MOOCs, which is a newly introduced subject known for being a

tremendous innovation in online education. Working on this paper was one of my experiences,

from which I learned detailed information about developing research designs, analyzing sets of

collected data, and reporting the results, making recommendations, and stating limitations and

conclusions. Based on educational research guidelines, a quantitative design can be used to

investigate phenomena, identify perceptions and concerns, determine factors, examine effects,

and predict relationships and associations. As technology advanced and has become an essential

component of educational research, knowledge of data software such as IBM SPSS, MaxStat,

MATLAB, PSPP, etc. became required for conducting data statistical analyses, managing huge

data sets, describing statistical results, and modeling of statistical tests. Using Cunningham &

Aldrich (2010), I practiced with my classmates entering data, running analyses, screening, and

saving of SPSS outputs in the computer labs in Gabel Hall. In a quantitative design, both

descriptive and inferential analyses may utilize technology to visualize and validate data models

as well as statistical tabulations and visualizations. ETR 521 is one of the classes offered at

ETRA Department that address research and assessment issues of designing research studies,

developing instruments for collecting data, addressing validity and reliability issues, selecting

data collection procedures, meeting ethical research guidelines, and discussing the results of
statistical methods. Literature shows that successful educational research studies are the result of

practice that depends mostly on creativity in research design and commitment to the ethical and

accuracy of analysis procedures. Both descriptive and inferential statistics were discussed and

practiced in this class, and as a graduate student I was introduced to the theory and applications

of statistical methods, which are used in education and the social sciences.

This paper was an opportunity for me to practice data collection by means of filtering charts,

tables, and blogs written by MOOC students themselves showing completion rates. As the

purpose of the project was to determine whether there is a relationship between the variables of

completion rates on hand and the type of MOOCs group on the other, it was an experience for

me to work on variable types and on assigning the participants to groups using random sampling

procedures. The sample of this study was divided into two groups in terms of correction

procedures. In addition, data analysis using SPSS (Version 22) program and then calculating

some factors such as pooled standard deviation, effect magnitude, and the critical value of t for

(α = 0.05) to test if there is difference between the populations’ means of both groups.

As the class practice of the research methods included applying of statistical tests such as

descriptive statistics, t-test, ANOVA, Correlation, Regression, I felt it was extensive enough to

improve my skills in conducting analysis of statistical data, discussing, and describing the results

of statistical analyses academically. Toward the end of the project, the focus of the practice was

on developing my skills of using statistical research methods. As I participated fully in the class,

my participation did not only improve my grades, but it also enhanced my ability to handle

statistical results and discussions in academic journal articles, evaluate the data being used, apply

appropriate statistical methods, and describe the results of statistical analyses using exact

language.
I think, what I learned from this project will increase my future potential for conducting

research and for performing in my academic and instructional position as a faculty member in

Tripoli University in my country, Libya. The way I have developed my skills in this project will

also benefit my students, my department, my university, and hence my community in Tripoli.

Using statistical methods of data analysis will help understand research results and evaluate

studies and articles that are accomplished by means of quantitative design procedures. Also, my

skills of conducting successful educational research will enable me to teach research methods

and designs to my undergraduate students, which will be useful for my future as an instructor

teacher preparation and educational technology. Now, I feel that I am confident enough to work

with descriptive and inferential statistics and help my students to practice them in and outside the

class.

In conclusion, my gains from this project show evidence that I have satisfied the following

objectives of the MS-ERE program:

• Design and/or select appropriate assessment or evaluation tools for a given educational

problem

The fact that this project focused on designing a study for an educational research problem,

makes it in accord with the ETRA Master’s program objectives of designing and selecting proper

assessment and evaluation tools for examining a research study. For example, focusing on the

issue of completion in MOOCs gives this project the reflection that it is meeting the above-

mentioned objective in particular.

• Apply appropriate technology to conduct analysis of educational data


As the class practice of the research methods included applying of statistical tests and

calculating descriptive statistics such as mean, sum, frequencies and percentage, it supports that

the project has met the objective of applying appropriate technology to conduct analysis of

educational data. Moreover, discussing the statistical results, validating of the statistical analyses,

and using tables and graphs to present the results are clear evidences of using technology in

statistical data description. In general, use of descriptive data outputs from SPSS in the project

proves that my skills have met the objective of using statistical research methods.

• Design a study of an educational research problem or phenomenon using appropriate

methodologies

Quantitative design is used to investigate phenomena, identify factors and concerns,

examine effects, and predict relationships and associations. Therefore, using a quantitative

design in this project stands as an evidence of achieving this objective.

• Distinguish between ethical and unethical behavior when conducting educational

research or evaluation

ETR 521 is one of the classes offered at ETRA Department that address research and

assessment issues of designing research studies, developing instruments for collecting data,

addressing validity and reliability issues, selecting data collection procedures, meeting ethical

research guidelines, and discussing the results of me to learn about issues such as copyright,

consent forms, voluntary participation and IRB permissions, etc.