Ruby, Alan

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 52
  • Publication
    Are There Metrics for MOOCS From Social Media?
    (2015-12-01) Ruby, Alan; Perna, Laura W; Boruch, Robert; Wang, Nicole
    Since "the year of the MOOC" in 2012, the effectiveness of massive open online course (MOOCs) has been widely debated. Some argue that MOOCs are not an effective mode of instructional delivery because of low completion rates. In the interest of developing alternative indicators of performance this study draws from recent efforts to measure engagement in social media, as well as from research on indicators of student engagement in traditional college courses. Using data from 16 Coursera MOOCs offered by the University of Pennsylvania we calculate standardized access rates for lectures and assessments. While these indicators have clear limitations as measures of educational progress they offer a different, more nuanced understanding of the level and nature of users' engagement with a MOOC. This paper shows that a very small share of uers takes up available opportunities to access course content but notes that the standardized access rates compare favorably with those for social media sites and with response rates to large-scale direct mail marketing programs. For MOOC providers and platform managers, indicators like the ones developed in this study may be a useful first step in monitoring the extent to which different types and combinations of activities may be providing better opportunities for learning.
  • Publication
    A Chinese Branch Campus in Malaysia - Adjusting Fundamentals
    (2017-12-01) Ruby, Alan; Yingfei, Bonnie
    The first overseas campus established by a renowned Chinese university - Xiamen University Malaysia is a flagship of China’s international engagement strategy in higher education. How XMUM adjusts and adapts to the local environment will be an exemplar for other Chinese universities.
  • Publication
    To Flop Is Human: Inventing Better Scientific Approaches to Anticipating Failure
    (2013-01-01) Boruch, Robert; Ruby, Alan
    Postmortems and autopsies, at the individual and hospital unit levels, are disciplined approaches to learning from medical failures. “Safety factors” that engineers use in designing structures and systems are based on past failures or trials and experiments to find points of failure. The applied social sciences, including education sciences, labor economics, and criminology, have less clarity about failure. While a bridge collapse is usually plain and spectacular, failures of education innovations or attempts at crime control are often quieter, not spectacular, and often occur for no transparent reasons. The applied social sciences lack disciplined, well-developed, and explicit approaches to anticipating the failure to meet expectations in testing the effectiveness of programs, analyzing the failures, and building a cumulative knowledge base on the phenomenon. Our fields can, for instance, identify “what works” pretty well from randomized controlled trials. However, little serious attention has been dedicated to understanding “why” and “how” a particular intervention failed to meet expectations in well-executed randomized controlled trials. This essay discusses a variety of research initiatives that are designed to better understand failure, especially in controlled trials.
  • Publication
    A Welcome Clash of Academic Cultures
    (2014-10-16) Ruby, Alan
    Alan Ruby reflects on an unscripted display of the differences between national research communities.
  • Publication
    Impact Factor Publication Requirement in Kazakhstan
    (2018-04-26) Kuzhabekova, Aliya; Ruby, Alan
    In the effort to raise university faculty research capacity and to stimulate faculty to produce research of greater quality, the government of Kazakhstan has recently introduced a requirement for publication in journals with an impact factor as a part of requirements for faculty promotion. This study will explore to what extent impact factor publication requirement was incorporated into universities’ promotion policies and on the resulting experiences of faculty. The study is based on the results of an online survey of faculty, who vary on a number of characteristics: 1) seniority, 2) type of formal post-graduate education (Soviet, post-Soviet local, Western), 3) discipline, 4) type of institution (national, regional, private). The study explores barriers that faculty experience in publishing in impact-factor publications, the strategies they use, as well as their views on the role and effectiveness of impact-factor publication requirement in research capacity building and research productivity evaluation. In addition to that, the paper analyzes the alignment of incentives for publishing in impact-factor journals and university or national level support structures that faculty view as effective in building research capacity and in achieving an increase in the number of high quality publications.
  • Publication
    A Little Supervision is a Good Thing
    (2011-03-29) Hartley, Matthew; Ruby, Alan
  • Publication
    Big, Bold, and Highly Accessible
    (2013-06-27) Ruby, Alan
  • Publication
    US Higher Education: More Options than McDonald’s Menu
    (2015-01-08) Ruby, Alan
    Students searching for the perfect university must value the diversity on offer and be aware of the complexity it brings, says Alan Ruby.
  • Publication
    Will Universities Survive the 21st Century?
    (2015-01-01) Ruby, Alan