I invite you and your friends to live the MOOC challenge. You only have to sign up for the 2014 version of the free Strategic Decision Evaluation course that I will teach starting on April 1st. This is a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) course offered by the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile that uses the NovoEd platform.

Evaluation of Strategic Decisions was issued with worldwide success last year. The NovoEd platform encourages the creation of a community of students all interested in the same subject. Collaboration and peer learning are the core of this platform.

This MOOC, in Spanish, is designed around teamwork and has attracted 2013 to 120,000 students from small and large Spanish-speaking communities around the world, including Chile, Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Spain and many more.

The students valued all the components of the course that lasts five weeks. 98% of the students found the 22 short videos and the included readings useful. The course is designed around students learning from each other’s work, after studying the readings and watching the video lectures.

This course opened a fantastic opportunity for students to work together, interconnect and learn with other Spanish-speaking professionals from around the world. 95% of the students valued the opportunity to build a network with their peers.

The students engaged with all the social elements of the course. They initiated 46,000 discussions in the forum and engaged in 127,000 private conversations with other students and teams.

The course included three tasks. Of the 120,000 students enrolled, 36% delivered the first task that was individual-work. This is a very favorable percentage because the registration in the course only took one click and is free. The enrollment of the students is simply a sign of interest. 97% of the students who finished found this task useful.

A week later, 30 thousand students formed 6,800 groups of 4.4 people on average. The group tasks were as attractive as the individual task. 27,000 students, 90% of the teams formed, presented the final version of the group project.

This project consisted of evaluating a strategic decision that one or more of the group members faced in real life. Group work was essential for the success of the course. 93% of the students found the group project useful.

We use peer evaluations in all tasks. I defined the peer evaluation criteria and rubrics for my students. And the students evaluated each other. Comments were given to each other through a four-box scheme that tells students how to provide feedback in a constructive and useful way. 94% of the students found it rewarding to receive feedback from classmates.

We observed that the initial hesitation of the students to evaluate their peers disappeared and the correction of others became an addiction. In the individual task, at least 4 comments were obtained per task delivered. In the group tasks, 17 comments per task were obtained, simply because there were much more students than number of tasks (groups give homework but students evaluate).

97% of the students found it rewarding to give feedback to their classmates. The evaluation by pairs is very valuable because the students learn much more when they have to evaluate the work of other classmates.

The students were encouraged to freely discuss other deliveries and “like” the tasks they found of high quality. For example, the first assignment of the student Carla Ahumada had 157 “likes” and 375 comments from other students. 82% of the students found it very valuable to see the work of other students and groups.

The graduation rates were very favorable. The course was completed by 27,000 students, this is 63% of the students who delivered the first task and 23% of the students enrolled. The overall evaluation of the students was very positive. 97% of the students were satisfied with the course and would recommend it to others.

The students learned to use the main current concepts of finance and strategy to evaluate projects that involve irreversible decisions. The more irreversible the decisions, the more effort you must assign to their evaluation. They learned how to represent quantitatively the strategic considerations that motivate the positions for or against the project.

The course not only gave thousands of professionals access to high quality content from a highly reputed university, but also connected them, allowed them to work as a team and create a meaningful network.

Patricio del Sol
Ph.D. Stanford University