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S. Sekiguchi1, N. Tanaka-Ellis2

1Meiji Gakuin University (JAPAN)
2Tokai University (JAPAN)
Followed by the introduction of Udacity, Coursera, and edX in 2012, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have attracted educators around the globe for its advantages, the online education learning is making a college education both affordable and accessible. The system encourages students to foster self-directed learning with the concept of ubiquitous learning. However, although expectations of what MOOCs can provide to the global online education learning are high, its low completion rates have been an issue since its implementation. The stand-alone system itself may not be enough to provide a successful educational course to individuals as online learning demands students more than being in a conventional classroom setting, they are required to be self-directed learners, engaging in interaction via dialogic forum discussions with other online learners and/or course developers. In order to overcome the difficulties, educators and researchers now claim that MOOCs may be used best in a blended format, combined with personalized, face-to-face instruction. By applying a blended format, in a flipped classroom approach, a MOOC provides access points to the course contents for students via lecture videos, reading materials, and individual tasks with online assignments prior to face-to-face classroom sessions. In the class sessions, their time can be devoted to engaging discussion and collaborative-based activities to enhance students’ understanding.

In this paper, we examine the results of a case study of the implementation of a MOOC for a Japanese undergraduate course and its methodologies used for developing a flipped classroom for an active learning environment in a blended learning model. The preliminary findings were based on a sample of 72 students in total, enrolled in two subjects over two semesters offered at a Japanese university in 2016. As a method, students’ access log data to the online course material were tracked and their weekly study log, their weekly reflective online surveys, and focus group interviews were collected to analyse its impact on students’ learning outcomes. The paper concludes with some critical reflections on the improvement of pedagogical design and practice of inclusion of MOOCs in a blended learning environment. The findings contribute to the development of ubiquitous learning environment for higher education.