About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 1199-1208
Publication year: 2015
ISBN: 978-84-608-2657-6
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2015
Location: Seville, Spain


P. Miranda1, P. Isaias2, S. Pifano3

2Portuguese Open University (Universidade Aberta) (PORTUGAL)
The continuous success of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) is driving a growing number of institutions to adhere to this method of distance education delivery. Consequently, there is a mounting variety of platforms that promise open, online courses to massive numbers of students. MOOCs have become particularly popular because they are free to join, they provide a wide range of courses, they allow for space and time flexibility and their participants can benefit from various online communication tools and access to quality content. Nonetheless, the more sceptical mention their high abandonment rate, their frail accreditation and their oversimplification of higher education as their main challenges. An important aspect of these courses is the fact that they are mainly offered by prestigious educational institutions, such as Harvard, MIT and Princeton. There over 400 universities engaged in the provision of MOOC courses and over 2,400 courses offered. Despite the fact that Coursera, Udacity, and edX remain the biggest MOOC providers, there are around 50 MOOC platforms with unique proposals of courses and learning methods. In light of this extensive offer, this paper intends to create a model to evaluate the quality of MOOC platforms. There is a threefold purpose to the creation of an assessment model. Firstly, due to their proliferation and impact, it has become imperative to have a framework to evaluate the quality of their performance and their effectiveness in terms of learning outcomes. Secondly, the existence of guidelines for the analysis of MOOCs assists current and prospective, students in their decision of enrolling with a particular platform. Finally, with the establishment of a model of evaluation, the institutions that wish to invest in the development of a MOOC will have a more solid foundation to do so. The model that is proposed here is based on six categories: openness, massiveness, content, communication tools, evaluation methods and participants. Each of these categories represents an essential and intrinsic characteristic of MOOC platforms. Openness will assess the financial, geographic, institutional, academic and bureaucratic accessibility of the platform. Massiveness refers not only to the number of students that can use the MOOC, but also to the number of institutions that are part of it and the number of courses that it offers. Content will be measured via its quality and its multimodality. The existence of communication tools is imperative in the MOOC’s format and it will be evaluated in terms of one-way communication methods and the availability of social tools. The category that concerns the evaluation methods is important to determine if the MOOC platform resorts to formal assessment or if it prefers to use a peer review system. In terms of the participants, the model will identify if their role is mainly passive or active. The evaluation model that is proposed in this paper derives from an extensive literature review on MOOCs and it will be employed in the examination of five MOOC platforms: edX, Coursera, Udacity, FutureLearn and MiriadaX. The application of the model to the five largest MOOC providers will consist in the individual analysis of each of the platforms via the use of the six categories. This process will assist the validation of the model and it will help to determine the aspects that contribute to the success of each of these providers.
author = {Miranda, P. and Isaias, P. and Pifano, S.},
series = {8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2015 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-608-2657-6},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {18-20 November, 2015},
year = {2015},
pages = {1199-1208}}
AU - P. Miranda AU - P. Isaias AU - S. Pifano
SN - 978-84-608-2657-6/2340-1095
PY - 2015
Y1 - 18-20 November, 2015
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2015 Proceedings
SP - 1199
EP - 1208
ER -
P. Miranda, P. Isaias, S. Pifano (2015) MODEL FOR THE EVALUATION OF MOOC PLATFORMS, ICERI2015 Proceedings, pp. 1199-1208.