Joyner, D. (2016). Expert Evaluation of 300 Projects per Day. In Proceedings of the Third Annual Conference on Learning at Scale. Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
In October 2014, one-time MOOC developer Udacity completed its transition from primarily producing massive, open online courses to producing job-focused, project-based microcredentials called “Nanodegree” programs. With this transition came a challenge: whereas MOOCs focus on automated assessment and peer-to-peer grading, project-based microcredentials would only be feasible with expert evaluation. With dreams of enrolling tens of thousands of students at a time, the major obstacle became project evaluation. To address this, Udacity developed a system for hiring external experts as project reviewers. A year later, this system has supported project evaluation on a massive scale: 61,000 projects have been evaluated in 12 months, with 50% evaluated within 2.5 hours (and 88% within 24 hours) of submission. More importantly, students rate the feedback they receive very highly at 4.8/5.0. In this paper, we discuss the structure of the project review system, including the nature of the projects, the structure of the feedback, and the data described above.