The Boot Camp Module in Massive Open Online Courses: Experiences in Two European Initiatives

Diana Morais
Universidade Aberta, Portugal

Maria Joao Leal
Universidade Aberta, Portugal

Maria Joao Spilker
Universidade Aberta, Portugal

Lina Morgado
Universidade Aberta, Portugal


The Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) imply, for the educational institutions and the target public, i.e. the participants, the formulation of new goals and addressing unique challenges. In this sense, this paper intends to reach out for the meaning and importance, as a differentiator in the participants’ perspective, of a familiarization module (Boot Camp Module) within a MOOC. This module intends to be an introduction to the MOOC, promoting the interaction between participants and providing information about structure and objectives of the course, as well as features of the supportive social and learning platform. Integrated in two European projects, “EMMA-European Multiple MOOC Aggregator” and “ECO-Elearning, Communication and Open-Data (ECO)”, the MOOCs from the Portuguese Open University has familiarization module, a Boot Camp. The primary goal of the case study consists in the measurement of the importance of the familiarization module and the role of the facilitators’ team, in the learning experience of MOOC participants, during this period of time. The messages posts in different spaces (The Wire, Blogs, Forum) were collected and analysed, resulting in an clear indication as for the importance of this module for the early setting of sense of group and a learning community. Further research should be conducted on the impact of a preliminary familiarization module on the success in context of MOOCs.

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