Avi Wolfman-Arent reports in the Chronicle of Higher Education  that Google will be giving Carnegie Mellon University $300,000 in each of the next two years through the Google Focused Research Award program, to fund “data driven” approaches to research on massive open online courses, including “techniques for automatically analyzing and providing feedback on student work,” according to a news release. The goal, it said, is to develop platforms intelligent enough to mimic the traditional classroom experience.

“Unless the MOOCs pay attention to how people actually learn, they will not be able to improve effectiveness, and will end up as just a passing fad,” said Justine Cassell, associate vice provost for technology strategy and impact at Carnegie Mellon.