Researching the Impact of an Online MOOC Designed to Transform Student Engagement and Achievement in Mathematics

This study examines non-cognitive factors, mindsets, cognitive factors, and strategies for learning mathematics, in the context of a MOOC combined with classroom instruction for middle grades students in mathematics. No previous mindset study has researched the impact of mindset messages within mathematics, and the proposed study will add important knowledge to this field.

Full Description: 

This project is designed to study a Massively Open Online Course (MOOC), expected to have approximately 2 million students, which will supplement middle grades mathematics classes to understand the impact on students' mathematical learning and engagement in mathematics. The MOOC learning environment, used with school aged children in concert with their regular mathematics course, focuses on helping students to develop positive and productive beliefs, or growth mindsets, about their own potential in mathematics and to teach the students a range of strategies that lead to mathematics success. A better understanding of growth mindsets and learning how to learn mathematics in the context of regular classroom instruction potentially makes important contributions in introducing a new intervention to tens of thousands of students. This contribution is made in concert with providing evidence of impact of using MOOCs coupled with classroom instruction with school aged children on student learning. If the study finds that the mathematics intervention MOOC significantly increases students' achievement and engagement with mathematics, it can be scaled nationally and potentially change the face of mathematics education in the United States.

This study examines non-cognitive factors, mindsets, cognitive factors, and strategies for learning mathematics, in the context of a MOOC combined with classroom instruction for middle grades students in mathematics. No previous mindset study has researched the impact of mindset messages within mathematics, and the proposed study will add important knowledge to this field. The study will also contribute to new knowledge of MOOCs, of their potential as learning opportunities and of the design of innovative pedagogies. Using a blocked randomized control trial of 10,000 students in two California districts, the statistical design employed will enable schools to implement the program across entire classes of students. The study employs measures of pre/post changes in mathematics engagement, mindset, use of mathematics strategies, and mathematics achievement, with close examination of the implications for girls, students of color, students of different socio-economic-status and low achieving students.

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