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Grants available to evaluate MOOCs

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A new research project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, aims to evaluate massive open online courses (MOOCs) and their impacts on teaching, learning, and education in general.

The MOOC Research Initiative (MRI) is a $400,000 investment that will award grants in the range of $10,000 – $25,000 each. The grant programme is led and administered by Athabasca University with support from an advisory committee of experts in learning design and MOOCs.

Potential grant areas include: student experiences and outcomes; learning design; cost, performance metrics and learner analytics; policy and systemic impact; and alternative MOOC formats.

Initial short submissions need to be made by 7 July, with final submissions from short-listed projects due in by 20 August and grant winners announced on 30 August. An international conference on MOOC research, which will include interim reports by successful grantees, will be hosted by the University of Texas, Arlington, USA on 5-6 December 2013.