The Characteristics of Successful MOOCs in the Fields of Software, Science, and Management, According to Students’ Perception

Simona Holstein , Anat Cohen
Interdisciplinary Journal of e-Skills and Lifelong Learning  •  Volume 12  •  2016  •  pp. 247-266
The characteristics of successful MOOCs were explored in this study. Thousands of student reviews regarding five xMOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) in the fields of software, science, and management were extracted from the Coursetalk website and analyzed by quantitative and qualitative methods using the Garrison, Anderson, and Archer (2000) Community of Inquiry (CoI) model. The 14 characteristics found to contribute to the success of MOOCs (e.g., teacher, atmosphere, exercise) were partitioned into the teaching, social, and cognitive presence elements. In addition, cluster analysis revealed five types of learners, based on the characteristics they mentioned for course success: atmosphere, exercise, teacher, exam, and unspecified. This divides learners into groups that may prefer social, cognitive, or teaching presence. The findings of this study negate the perception that xMOOCs mostly contain teaching presence elements. This research contributes to the understanding of characteristics that contribute to successful MOOCs and sheds light on the students, too. Listening to the voices of the students and the types of characteristics that they chose to mention, enables further exploration of their preferences and expectations regarding MOOCs and, accordingly, to future adaptation between students’ preferences and MOOC characteristics.
MOOC, online learning, lifelong learning, Community of Inquiry
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