V. Gonçalves1, I. Chumbo1, E. Torres2, B. Gonçalves3

1Politecnic Institute of Bragança (PORTUGAL)
2Universidade Rovira i Virgili (SPAIN)
3Instituto de Educação da Universidade do Minho (PORTUGAL)
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) are viewed as one of the most recent opportunities for distance learning. The growing demand for this type of training, usually informal, has been gaining momentum by maximizing equity in education and training.

Although its apparent informality, MOOCs can be used in a formal context and approach, thus contributing to Teacher Education at a more global level.

Teacher Education in Portugal is implemented throughout the whole school year and implies the attendance of training courses at a specific institution.

MOOCs are therefore an alternative and easier way to implement continuous training:
This paper presents a case study in which a MOOC was developed and implemented in order to attract teachers to this new way of sharing knowledge. The MOOC was called “A MOOC on MOOCs and other educational technologies” and had 17 teachers attending. Fifteen finished the training course and created their own MOOC on the Udemy platform.

The participants were from various academic backgrounds and had different professional experiences. Nevertheless, their digital competences were quite homogenous in terms of using synchronous and asynchronous tools.

This work aims at clarifying the contribution MOOCs can have in teacher education and at understanding the perception teachers have from their own evolution after developing and implementing their own MOOC. These objectives were assessed through questionnaires at three different stages: before, at the end of the course and four months after the end of the course. Apart from questionnaires, observation was also used as a means to understand the ongoing teacher’s reactions to their learning process, since the three trainers were key elements in a participatory action research approach.

The analysis of the questionnaires show that the participants considered the MOOC as a scientifically valid training course which has contributed highly to their continuous education.

Throughout the paper the development of the whole experiment will be explained in its different stages, providing a clear analysis of the results and feedback of the participants and trainers confirming that MOOCs can be used in the context of Teacher Education in Portugal, where the experiment was a novelty, as well as in other similar contexts in other countries. MOOCs facilitate access to education for educators, eroding space barriers in a time where teachers need to be empowered for the 21st teaching and learning process.