One of the criticisms of “massive” open online courses concerns retention of students. In combination, the various features of the edX component of CopyrightX seem to have generated a substantially higher retention rate. Of the 500 admitted students, 277 (55.4%) attended the final meetings of their discussion groups, 307 (61.4%) satisfied the participation requirements set by the teaching fellows, 247 (49.4%) took the final examination, 195 (39%) passed the examination, and 193 (38.6%) both passed the examination and satisfied the participation requirement—and thus received a certificate of completion.
More detailed information concerning participation and graduation rates for subgroups of students can be derived from the following graphs. The first column indicates the number of students in each subgroup who accepted our offers of admission. The second through thirteenth column show attendance at each of the 12 weekly Socratic discussion sessions. The fourteenth column shows the number of participants who satisfied the course participation requirements set by the teaching fellows. The fifteen and sixteenth columns show the number of students who took the exam and the number who passed it. The final column shows the number who received a certificate of completion.
Country of Residence
Highest Educational Attainment
Some interesting comparisons lurk in these graphs. The following table, for example, juxtaposes the subgroups that appear in the first and third graph with respect to two different measures of success: (a) their graduation rates (i.e., the percentage of accepted students who received certificates of completion) and (b) their exam passage rates (i.e., the percentage of students taking the exam who passed the exam).
Among the fruits of this comparison: U.S. residents and non-residents do not differ materially on either dimension; graduation rates rise gradually with educational attainment; but the exam passage rate is remarkably consistent across groups. Finally, the hypothesis that non-lawyers are both willing and able to master copyright law finds support in these numbers.