Open, Online, and Blended: Transactional Interactions with MOOC Content by Learners in Three Different Course Formats

Jeffrey P. Emanuel, Anne Lamb

Abstract


During the 2013-14 academic year, Harvard University piloted the use of MOOCs as tools for blended learning in select undergraduate and graduate residential and online courses. One of these courses, The Ancient Greek Hero, combined for—credit (Harvard College and Harvard Extension School) and open online (HarvardX) groups into a single online unit, marking the first time the same instance of a MOOC was used simultaneously by both tuition—paying, credit—seeking students and non—paying, non—credit students enrolled exclusively online. In this article, we analyze and compare the online behavior of students and participants in the three groups that simultaneously participated in The Ancient Greek Hero via the edX platform. We find that, in similar fashion to a traditional learning setting, students enrolled in all three versions of the course engaged the online content in a transactional way, spending their time and effort on activities and exercises in ways that would optimize their desired outcomes. While user behavior was diverse, HarvardX participant engagement tended to be either very deep or virtually nonexistent, while College and Extension School students displayed relatively homogenous patterns of participation, viewing most of the content but interacting mostly with that which affected their overall course grades. Ultimately, we conclude that educators who intend to utilize MOOC content in an effort to apply blended learning techniques to their classrooms should carefully consider how best to incorporate each online element into their overall pedagogical strategy, including how to incentivize interaction with those elements. Further, for MOOCs to have maximum impact, they must address multiple learner motivations and provide participants with multiple modes of interaction with the content and with their peers.

Keywords


MOOC, Blended Learning, Distance Learning, Humanities, Academic Technology

Full Text:

PDF

References


Anderson, A., Huttenlocher, D., Kleinberg, J. & Leskovec, J. (2014). Engaging with Massive Online Courses. Paper presented at the 23rd International World Wide Web Conference, Seoul, Korea.

Bebell, D., Fernandes, K. & Petersen, R. (2014). Applying MOOCs in On—Campus Settings: Opportunities, Obstacles, and Results. Paper presented at the ELI Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA.

Bergeron, J. M. (2014). Blended Learning in the College. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning.

Bowen, W.G., Chingos, M. M., Lack, K. A. & Nygren, T. I. (2012). Interactive Learning Online at Public Universities: Evidence from Randomized Trials. Ithaka S + R Report.

Bruff, D. O., Fisher, D. H., McEwen, K. E. & Smith, B. E. (2013). Wrapping a MOOC: Student Perceptions of an Experiment in Blended Learning. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 9(2), 187—199.

DeBoer, J., Ho, A. D., Stump, G. S. & Breslow, L. (2014). Changing "Course": Reconceptualizing Educational Variables for Massive Open Online Courses. Educational Researcher, 43(2), 74—84.

Dzubian, C. D., Hartman, J. L. & Moskal, P. D. (2004). Blended Learning. ECAR Research Bulletin, 2004(7).

Firmin, R., Schiorring, E., Whitmer, J., Willett, T., Collins, E. D. & Sujitparapitayae, S. (2014). Case Study: Using MOOCs for Conventional College Coursework. Distance Education, 35(2), 178—201.

Fowler, R., Meinking, K. A., Morrell, K., Sandridge, N. & Walker, B. (in press.) Adapting Content from a Massive Open Online Course to a Liberal Arts Setting. Transformations.

Han, F., Veeramachaneni, K. & O’Reilly, U—M. (2013). Analyzing Millions of Submissions to Help MOOC Instructors Understand Problem Solving. Paper presented at the NIPS Workshop on Data Driven Education, Lake Tahoe, NV.

Ho, A. D., Reich, J., Nesterko, S., Seaton, D. T., Mullaney, T., Waldo, J., & Chuang, I. (2014). HarvardX and MITx: The first year of open online courses (HarvardX Working Paper No. 1).

Ho, A. D. & Reich, J. (2014). The Tricky Task of Figuring Out What Makes a MOOC Successful. The Atlantic, 23 Jan. http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/01/the—tricky—task—of—figuring—out—what—makes—a—mooc—successful/283274/.

Koller, D., Ng, A., Do, C. & Chen, Z. (2013). Retention and Intention in Massive Open Online Courses: In Depth. Educause Review Online, 3 June. http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/retention—and—intention—massive—open—online—courses—depth—0.

Kolowich, S. (2013a). San Jose State U. Puts MOOC Project with Udacity on Hold. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 19 July.

Kolowich, S. (2013b). The MOOC ‘Revolution’ May Not be as Disruptive as Some Had Imagined. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 8 Aug. http://chronicle.com/article/MOOCs—May—Not—Be—So—Disruptive/140965/.

Kortmeyer, G. (2014). How to Reduce Unproductive and Undesirable Behavior in Online Courses. Paper presented at the AAPT Summer Meeting, Minneapolis, MN.

Lack, K. A. (2013). Current Status of Research on Online Learning in Postsecondary Education. Ithaka S + R Report.

Lewin, T. (2013). After setbacks, online courses are rethought. The New York Times, 10 Dec.

Lizilcec, R. F., Piech, C. & Schneider, E. (2013, April). Deconstructing Disengagement: Analyzing Learner Subpopulations in Massive Open Online Courses. Paper presented at the Third International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge, Leuven, Belgium.

Liyanagunawardena, T. R., Parslow, P. & Williams, S. (2014). Dropout: MOOC Participants’ Perspective. In U. Cress & C. D. Kloos (Eds.), Proceedings of the European MOOC Stakeholder Summit 2014 (pp. 95—100).

Major, C. H. (2010). Do Virtual Professors Dream of Electric Students? University Faculty Experiences with Online Distance Education. Teachers College Record, 112(8), 2154—2208.

Means, B., Toyama, Y., Murphy, R. F. & Bakia, M. (2013). The Effectiveness of Online and Blended Learning: A Meta—Analysis of the Empirical Literature. Teachers College Record, 115(3), 1—47.

Sergiy Nesterko and Daniel T. Seaton “Understanding User Engagement Through Time on Site in HarvardX MOOCs,” Unpublished manuscript (2014).

Picciano, A. (2014). Blended Learning Meets MOOCs: Education’s Digital Future. Paper presented at the ELI Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA.

Justin Reich, Jeffrey P. Emanuel, Sergiy Nesterko, Daniel T. Seaton, Tommy Mullaney, James Waldo, Isaac Chuang, and Andrew D. Ho, “HeroesX: The Ancient Greek Hero: Spring 2013 Course Report,” HarvardX/MITx Working Papers 3 (2014).

Rooney, J. E. (2003). Knowledge Infusion: Blended Learning Opportunities to Enhance Educational Programming and Meetings. Association Management, 55(6), 26—32.

Ross, B. & Gage, K. (2006). Global Perspectives on Blended Learning: Insight from WebCT and Our Customers in Higher Education. In C. J. Bonk & C. R. Graham (Eds.), Handbook of Blended learning: Global Perspectives, Local Designs (pp. 155—168). San Francisco, CA: Pfeffer.

Stewart, B. (2013). Massiveness + Openness = New Literacies of Participation? Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 9(2), 228—238.

Yuan, L. & Powell, S. (2013). MOOCs and Open Education: Implications for Higher Education — A White Paper, JISC CETIS (Centre for Educational Technology & Interoperability Standards).

Zhao, Y. & Breslow, L. (2013). Literature Review on Hybrid/Blended Learning. HarvardX and MIT Teaching & Learning Laboratory.

Zhao, Y. & Ho, A. D. (2014). Evaluating the Flipped Classroom in An Undergraduate History Course (HarvardX Research Memo).




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24059/olj.v21i2.845