Evaluating MOOCs - What is Really Happening?

Grainne Conole
University of Leicester, United Kingdom


This paper describes the evaluation of two Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) run by the University of Leicester as part of the FutureLearn initiative (https://www.futurelearn.com). It will use a novel approach to the evaluation, using a new MOOC classification schema. The new MOOC classification schema has been developed because it is believed that the current discourse around the concept of xMOOCs (primarily based around interaction with content and essentially adopting a behaviourist learning approach), and cMOOCs (which focus on harnessing the power of social media and interaction with peers, adopting a connectivist learning approach), is an inadequate way of describing the variety of MOOCs and the ways in which learners engage with them. The paper will provide a brief history of the emergence of MOOCs and the key stakeholders. It will introduce an alternative means of categorising MOOCs, based on their key characteristics. The paper fits under the ‘Quality aspects: assessment and evaluation, retention techniques, performance support’ conference theme. It will argue that using the MOOC classification schema can be used as a strategy to better design MOOCs, as well as an evaluation framework for analysing participants’ learning behaviours.

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