Dealing With Troubled Students in Open Online Courses

Dealing With Troubled Students in Open Online Courses

March 15, 2013

Professors who teach tens of thousands of sometimes-anonymous students through massive open online courses are worried about how to deal with students who may post about suicide or murder. Scott Plous, a psychology professor at Wesleyan University, will teach 70,000 students in one of his MOOCs. Plous is planning to discuss self-policing by users, as neither he nor his teaching assistants will be able to read every post on the class message board. He hopes that students can help other students if they see a troubling message posted.

Coursera, a popular MOOC provider of Plous' class, is also thinking about how to deal with troubled users. The company is considering the addition of a page where users can report suicidal posts by other users, as Facebook has done. Coursera is also working to automatically flag potentially troubling posts through keywords. The company is also planning to give its staff suicide prevention classes.

Dangerous and Possibly Anonymous
Ry Rivard
Inside Higher Ed
March 6, 2013

Student Safety