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Massive open online courses

Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, have been the subject of great interest in recent years as researchers and educators have tried to define this development in e-learning.  The unique challenges and opportunities of online learning platforms have fostered a body of research related to MOOC course design from both a theoretical and methodological perspective. These new learning methods have also promoted a discourse around student engagement, as MOOC organisers have reported low completion rates among those who enroll.  In addition, researchers have explored MOOCs from subject specific and regional perspectives.  This collection seeks to bring together research from across our open access journals to address these broad themes in MOOC related research.

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With a personal appearance from the online teacher

While online students may wish to see their teacher on video, there may be practical, pedagogical, affective or political reasons for hesitating. Drawing on my own experiences of online teaching both on a Masters programme and a MOOC (EDCMOOC), the paper raises questions about approaches to teaching, misrepresentation, surveillance and teacher agency.

Christine Sinclair
Video Journal of Education and Pedagogy
24 October 2016

Paint me a picture: translating academic integrity policies and regulations into visual content for an online course

This paper outlines how two online courses to introduce students to the concept of academic integrity and its associated values and expectations were designed in accordance principles outlined in Mayer’s theory and how the design team integrated seven of Mayer’s twelve principles to create dynamic, visual and aural elements such as animations, narrations and text to engage learners in a more meaningful learning process.

Tricia Bingham, Stephanie Reid and Vanda Ivanovic
International Journal for Educational Integrity
10 August 2016

An analysis of the use and effect of questions in interactive learning-videos

This study focuses on the positioning of interactive questions within learning videos. It is attempted to show that the position of a question’s occurrence has an impact on the correctness rate of its answer and the learning success. As part of the study, the interactive learning videos in which the questions are placed are used as teaching materials with a class.

Josef Wachtler, Michael Hubmann, Helmut Zöhrer and Martin Ebner
Smart Learning Environments
7 July 2016

Video annotation and analytics in CourseMapper

Over the past few years there has been an increasing interest to investigate the potential of Video-Based Learning (VBL) as a result of new forms of online education, such as flipped classrooms and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in order to engage learners in a self-organized and networked learning experience. However, current VBL approaches suffer from several limitations. In this paper, we investigate the effective design of VBL environments and present the design, implementation, and evaluation details of CourseMapper as a mind map-based collaborative video annotation and analytics platform that enables learners’ collaboration and interaction around a video lecture.

Mohamed Amine Chatti, Momchil Marinov, Oleksandr Sabov, Ridho Laksono, Zuhra Sofyan, Ahmed Mohamed Fahmy Yousef and Ulrik Schroeder
Smart Learning Environments
2 July 2016

Researching for better instructional methods using AB experiments in MOOCs: results and challenges

This article reports on two AB experiments (treatment vs. control) in a massive open online course. The first experiment evaluates deliberate practice activities (DPAs) for developing problem solving expertise as measured by traditional physics problems.

Zhongzhou Chen, Christopher Chudzicki, Daniel Palumbo, Giora Alexandron, Youn-Jeng Choi, Qian Zhou and David E. Pritchard
Research and Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning
22 April 2016

Tertiary student attitudes to invigilated, online summative examinations

The outcomes of a trial implementation of an invigilated, online examination at a regional university in Australia and their implications for online education providers are discussed. Students in a first year online psychology course were offered the opportunity to complete their final examination task online with invigilation conducted via webcam. The study concluded that many students have substantial challenges with the idea of major stakes examinations being online.

Rosalind James
International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education
14 March 2016

Competency-based personalization for massive online learning

This paper investigates the problem of personalization in massive open online courses (MOOC) based on a target competency profile and a learning scenario model built for the course. It presents a method for computing relations between competencies based on a structured competency model which is then used to define recommendation agents added to a MOOC learning scenario.

Gilbert Paquette, Olga Mariño, Delia Rogozan and Michel Léonard
Smart Learning Environments
17 February 2015

A Cluster Analysis of MOOC Stakeholder Perspectives

This paper aims to cluster and analyze the different objectives of MOOC stakeholders to build a deeper and better understanding of their behaviors. The main finding was a set of eight clusters, i.e., blended learning, flexibility, high quality content, instructional design and learning methodologies, lifelong learning, network learning, openness, and student-centered learning.

Ahmed Mohamed Fahmy Yousef, Mohamed Amine Chatti, Marold Wosnitza and Ulrik Schroeder
International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education
15 January 2015​​​​​​​

From massive access to cooperation: lessons learned and proven results of a hybrid xMOOC/cMOOC pedagogical approach to MOOCs

The low completion rate for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), averaging 10 % across total enrolment, highlights a need for close analysis of the underlying formative model. This paper describes two MOOCs that used an innovative collaborative learning platform which had a positive impact on completion rates.

Ángel Fidalgo-Blanco, María Luisa Sein-Echaluce and Francisco José García-Peñalvo
International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education
29 June 2016

Who will pass? Analyzing learner behaviors in MOOCs

Collecting data of three MOOCs at Yuan Ze University (YZU), this paper intended to classify learning behaviors among 1489 students on the MOOC platform at YZU. The finding of this study suggested that the first 2 weeks was a critical point of time to retain students in MOOCs. MOOC instructors need to carefully design course and detect risk behaviors of students in early of the classes to prevent students from dropping out of the course.

Shu-Fen Tseng, Yen-Wei Tsao, Liang-Chih Yu, Chien-Lung Chan and K. Robert Lai
Research and Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning
8 April 2016

The utilization of data analysis techniques in predicting student performance in massive open online courses (MOOCs)

This paper presents an approach to learner prediction in MOOCs by captuirng data about student performance to predict trends so that at risk students can be identified before they drop-out. The study uses the eRegister system, which has been developed to capture and analyze data. The results indicate that high/active engagement, interaction and attendance is reflective of higher marks.

Glyn Hughes and Chelsea Dobbins
Research and Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning
16 July 2015

Relationship between participants’ level of education and engagement in their completion of the Understanding Dementia Massive Open Online Course

The completion rates for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) generally are low (5-10%) and have been reported to favour participants with higher (typically tertiary-level) education. Despite these factors, the flexible learning offered by a MOOC has the potential to provide an accessible educational environment for a broad spectrum of participants. This article reports on the relationship between participants’ level of education and engagement in their completion of the Understanding Dementia MOOC.

Lynette R Goldberg, Erica Bell, Carolyn King, Ciaran O’Mara, Fran McInerney, Andrew Robinson and James Vickers
BMC Medical Education
26 March 2015

Self-motivation challenges for student involvement in the Open Educational Movement with MOOC

This article attempts to answer the questions: What are the challenges, problems and obstacles of involving less self-motivated students in MOOCs and how do they relate to their learning connectivism?  A mixed method approach was used to survey students, interview students and coordinators, and analyze relevant documents. Based on these findings, a MOOC design requirement template aimed at supporting students’ self-motivation and self-regulation through connectivism is provided.

Brenda Jeanett García Espinosa, Gloria Concepción Tenorio Sepúlveda and María Soledad Ramírez Montoya
International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education
15 January 2015

Massive open online nutrition and cooking course for improved eating behaviors and meal composition

Behavioral shifts in eating, favoring the increased consumption of highly processed foods over healthier, home-cooked alternatives, have led to widespread health problems. This study reports on the effectiveness of a massive open online course (MOOC), offering integrated nutrition and cooking instruction, for improving eating behaviors and meal composition among course participants.

Maya Adam, Kelly C. Young-Wolff, Ellen Konar and Marilyn Winkleby
International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
3 December 2015

Why should health be a central argument in climate negotiations? Can a MOOC help to bring the message across?

This paper examines how massive open online courses (MOOCs) have been used to disseminate key messages about the relationship between health and climate change to high-level policy-makers. 

Rainer Sauerborn
Public Health Reviews
19 October 2016

Are Japanese digital natives ready for learning english online? a preliminary case study at Osaka University

Assessing learner readiness for online learning is the starting point for online course design. This study thus aimed to evaluate Japanese learners’ perceived e-readiness for learning English online prior to designing and developing an online EGAP (English for General Academic Purposes) course at Osaka University.

Parisa Mehran, Mehrasa Alizadeh, Ichiro Koguchi and Haruo Takemura
International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education
​​​​​​​13 March 2017

Making MOOCs meaningful and locally relevant? Investigating IDCourserians—an independent, collaborative, community hub in Indonesia​​​​​​​

In response to growing concerns over the low completion rate, some MOOC providers have begun to campaign for the development of offline supporting communities. Some MOOC learners in Indonesia took the initiative to form their own community, which they called IDCourserians. This paper reports on a qualitative study which aimed to investigate and to make sense what was actually happening in the IDCourserians as an independent MOOC learning community.

Manda Firmansyah and Sue Timmis
Research and Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning
4 May 2016

Analysing MOOCs from an educational perspective in Spain

This article is the result of a Teaching Innovation Project funded by the University of Cantabria’s Vice-Rectorate for Teaching Staff. It attempts to analyze the phenomenon of MOOCs with pedagogical criteria to develop a Best Practice Guide.

Adelina Calvo Salvador and Carlos Rodríguez-Hoyos
International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education
2 March 2016​​​​​​​

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