Scaffolding a Culminating Assignment Within a Community and Task-based MOOC




MOOCs, online learning design, scaffolding, learning technologies


We aim to understand the impact of scaffolds within a digital workbook to facilitate self-directed learning for learners completing a final project within a community and task-based MOOC. Optional reflection and articulation prompts were embedded in the tool support assignment development. Workbook use was prevalent, with 65% of learners using it to some extent. Our qualitative analysis revealed that assignment responses associated with substantial workbook use were A) informally written and loosely connected to assignment objectives (36%), or B) well-articulated and connected to assignment objectives (29%). Responses associated with little to no workbook use were C) superficial or uncontextualized (29%), or D) consistent with type “B” responses (6%). We discuss implications for instructors and learning designers in scaffolding complex projects in MOOCs.

Author Biography

Rebecca M. Quintana, University of Michigan

Rebecca Quintana’s roles at the University of Michigan are associate director, learning experience design in the Center for Academic Innovation, and adjunct lecturer in the School of Education. She applies learning sciences theories and methods to the design of technology-rich learning environments. Her research explores how people learn with technology, including with tools that enable social learning and knowledge building. In her teaching, she advances innovative approaches that use technology to instantiate community-oriented approaches to instruction. She earned her PhD from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto in the department of curriculum, teaching and learning.


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