Notice to Authors

Due to the overwhelming number of submissions to IRRODL, the journal has already met its publication quota for 2019. As a result, for a period that will not exceed six months, IRRODL will no longer be accepting submissions after May 1, 2019. In order to improve our service to the academic community, and to ensure a six month review to publication cycle, IRRODL will be moving to a regularized publication schedule in 2020. More information will be provided later this year.

We thank our authors, reviewers, and readers for their unwavering and exceptional support in making our journal one of the world’s most successful, open access journals in the field of open and distributed learning.

Massive open online course completion rates revisited: Assessment, length and attrition

  • Katy Jordan The Open University, UK
Keywords: distance education, open learning, online learning, massive open online courses (MOOCs)


This analysis is based upon enrolment and completion data collected for a total of 221 Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). It extends previously reported work (Jordan, 2014) with an expanded dataset; the original work is extended to include a multiple regression analysis of factors that affect completion rates and analysis of attrition rates during courses. Completion rates (defined as the percentage of enrolled students who completed the course) vary from 0.7% to 52.1%, with a median value of 12.6%. Since their inception, enrolments on MOOCs have fallen while completion rates have increased. Completion rates vary significantly according to course length (longer courses having lower completion rates), start date (more recent courses having higher percentage completion) and assessment type (courses using auto grading only having higher completion rates). For a sub-sample of courses where rates of active use and assessment submission across the course are available, the first and second weeks appear to be critical in achieving student engagement, after which the proportion of active students and those submitting assessments levels out, with less than 3% difference between them.

Author Biography

Katy Jordan, The Open University, UK
PhD student in the Institute of Educational Technology
How to Cite
Jordan, K. (2015). Massive open online course completion rates revisited: Assessment, length and attrition. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 16(3).
Research Notes