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Students Gathered with Devices

Analyzing the MOOC Experience

by Ron Bethke

eCampus News

Article excerpt

What learners do during MOOCs–and why it matters

Course design may take a back seat to personal and environmental factors, and notetaking is just as critical during MOOCs as in face-to-face courses. These are just a few of the findings of new qualitative research that examines the experiences and practices of students who participate in MOOCs.

Our take

MOOC User Perspectives Can Inform Other Online Learning Initiatives

Depending on your perspective, MOOCs can be looked at as either a threat or an opportunity. Whichever perspective you take, though, there’s much to learn from students’ interactions with MOOCs that can inform other online teaching initiatives. While based on a small sample size of 13, these researchers’ in-depth interviews with MOOC users reveal some key insights into their needs for offline interactions and support to reap full benefits from their online coursework. What takeaways might you apply in your courses?

These MOOC users point to the importance of online interactions outside of the MOOC environment, notetaking and methods of consuming online content. As administrators consider what role, if any, MOOCs might play in their educational offerings, studies such as this one provide some relevant insights into learner behaviors and preferences that can be applied to any online learning environments or activities.