MASSIVE OPEN ONLINE COURSES: LEARNERS PARTICIPATION
The University of Warwick (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Conference name: 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 17-19 November, 2014
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have become a major international focus of investment and development in the area of learning technology. Despite a lack of research into effectiveness and assessment of outcomes, many educational institutions have joined the race to implement and deliver such courses. A wide range of different subjects can now be studied free of charge by anyone with interest to learn. Expectations for the benefits of MOOCs have run high, including their potential as a disruptive technology and their ability to solve educational needs in developing countries. However, in practice most MOOCs offer very traditional learning approaches and issues such as learner participation and retention are proving to be problematic. This paper provides a brief qualitative assessment of two different MOOC approaches focussing in particular on data relating to learner participation in forums and quizzes. The two approaches investigated are; firstly, an earlier comprehensive report from University of Edinburgh (using previously published data drawn from 6 courses) and secondly, from the University of Warwick (presenting new data from Moodle-based Computing for Teachers MOOC (CfT)). CfT MOOC is been run in two parallel modes: the tutor supported mode (in real-time Google hangout sessions) and the ‘traditional’ peer-supported mode (in online discussion forum). We investigate certain features between these two conventional institutions’ courses with respect to their operation and levels of learner participation. It has been observed that using forums in Massive Open Online Courses help motivate learners to continue their participation towards completion of the course. Advice from fellow students can be encouraging, however it can also have a negative effect when insensitive or misleading comments are posted.
Keywords: Massive Open Online Course, MOOC, discussion forum, quiz, learner participation, dropout rate, CfT.