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
    The Diffusion of Education Policy in the 21st Century: Lessons from Other Fields
    (2020-10-21) Ruby, Alan; Li, Aisi
    The ways information about national education policies is exchanged and interpreted is a field of comparative education that is under-developed. What discussion and analysis there is seems to ignore the insights and models prevalent in other domains. We looked to fields like political science, and economic and social development for concepts to strengthen the analysis of education policy mobility between nations. We found an abundance of metaphors most of which fail to capture key elements of policy diffusion including the notion that ideas change as they cross cultural boundaries. We observe that policy transfer can be purposefully initiated by the host as well as a product of coercion or external incentives. Our principal conclusions are that common framings of traveling education policies are linear, one-directional and marked by an air of beneficence. They overlook the importance of context and the actions of sovereign nations in policy formation.
  • Publication
    The Not So Open Door
    (2010-11-18) Ruby, Alan
    Latest data on flow of international students to the U.S. raise questions about state quotas and tuition policies and how to calculate the economic value of students, writes Alan Ruby.
  • Publication
    Government Models for Financing Higher Education in a Global Context: Lessons from the US and UK
    (2018-09-13) Villarreal, Pedro; Ruby, Alan
    This paper reviews common funding approaches/models found in the US and UK as well as the philosophical, political, and economic rationales underpinning their use, and the policy environments that contributed to their adoption in the hope of informing substantive policy discussion, decision-making, and implementation. It finds that different funding approaches/models may be appropriate based on the contextual realities and current circumstances of a country. Thus, incremental approaches might reflect government interests, but may not serve the public good. Enrollment based approaches (per capita and per credit) have advantages and remain viable options for adoption for nations seeking to expand access to higher education. Performance funding options may be appropriate when a robust system of higher education exists, and government seeks performance outcomes as a tool in promoting special projects or government priorities. However, those nations considering performance-based models may need a fair warning. The performance-based approach has yet to be proven to be the panacea it was purported to be, at least in the US and UK.
  • Publication
    US Student Debt: Borrowing the Long and Lending the Short of it
    (2015-01-29) Ruby, Alan
    Financing options fail to live up to the promises made by politicians, says Alan Ruby.
  • Publication
    Sequential Flow. Excerpt from unpublished manuscript, Life cycle of a million MOOC users.
    (2014-05-12) Perna, Laura W; Ruby, Alan; Boruch, Robert
  • Publication
    Failure Analysis
    (2013-09-05) Ruby, Alan; Boruch, Robert
  • Publication
    How the 99 Percent Learn: America’s Overlooked Successes
    (2015-07-30) Ruby, Alan
    It’s a pity the efforts of myriad institutions striving daily to help students of diverse backgrounds are eclipsed by Ivy League tales, says Alan Ruby.