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Educational Technology Research and Development

, Volume 64, Issue 6, pp 1013–1032 | Cite as

MOOCocracy: the learning culture of massive open online courses

  • Jamie LoizzoEmail author
  • Peggy A. Ertmer
Research Article

Abstract

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are often examined and evaluated in terms of institutional cost, instructor prestige, number of students enrolled, and completion rates. MOOCs, which are connecting thousands of adult learners from diverse backgrounds, have yet to be viewed from a learning culture perspective. This research used virtual ethnographic methods to investigate the adult learner experience in a MOOC learning culture. Specifically, authors observed and interviewed twelve adult learners from countries around the world to gain a richer understanding of their online experiences and interactions within a MOOC focused on the social justice topic of human trafficking. Results showed that while a MOOC learning culture has some similarities to traditional distance education environments, it is indeed complex due to the large global scale. Based on the six themes that emerged from the data, the authors present the concept of MOOCocracy—a social learning democracy, as a description of the MOOC learning culture. Implications for MOOC instructional design are also discussed.

Keywords

MOOC Learning culture Distance education Social learning Virtual ethnography 

Notes

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and CommunicationUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA
  2. 2.Department of Curriculum and InstructionPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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