3,000 complete first Dutch MOOC

The three-week Introduction to Dutch Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) ended this week. Although more than 33,000 people signed up, only 3,000 have completed the course so far.

The first course, hosted by Future Learn, started three weeks ago with 33,800 subscribers. As expected, only a portion of those who signed up went on to participate in the class: in total, 20,000 students actually became active users.

Out of that group, only 3,000 had completed the course as of Monday when it officially ended, but that figure will continue to rise as students still have a few days to finish it. Although fewer than 25 per cent of the active participants have finished the course so far, the organizers are very satisfied with the amount of participation.

Margriet Hidding, one of the project leaders, says that the level of involvement of the participants surprised the instructors. Students often helped each other with their assignments and commented on each other’s questions.

‘So many people’

It was the first time the Dutch teachers of the Language Centre had organized a MOOC, and it was a challenge. ‘An online course is very different than a present class where you can see the students’ faces and give them personal feedback. We had so many people that the personalized messages were almost impossible’, Hidding explains.

The level of fluency expected at the end of the course is roughly a lower A1. The only requirements to finish the course were to follow the reading, writing and speaking assignments and to actively participate. Future Learning also offers an official certificate of participation – if the student pays for it.

Future MOOCs

The Introduction to Dutch MOOC was a collaboration between the University and the Language Centre. Their goal was
to invite internationals to learn Dutch, to learn more about the Netherlands and to promote the RUG internationally to potential students.

The Dutch department of the Language Center is already preparing two new online courses for the levels 0 to A1 and A1 to A2. Those courses, which are scheduled to start in April, are paid courses and will not be part of the MOOC. The next Introduction to Dutch MOOCs are planned for June and October.