, Volume 59, Issue 1, pp 56–63 | Cite as

Emerging patterns in MOOCs: Learners, course designs and directions

  • Hamish Macleod
  • Jeff Haywood
  • Amy Woodgate
  • Mubarak Alkhatnai


Engagement with Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) at the University of Edinburgh has emerged from its strategic priorities to explore and innovate in the area of online and technologically supported approaches to teaching and learning. This paper provides an account of analysis aimed at understanding who Edinburgh MOOC learners are, who elects to participate and the aspirations of that population, and the place that the MOOC will occupy in the University’s online learning ecology. The analysis addresses a number of predictions that have been made about MOOCs since 2012, including their use for providing educational opportunities to the disadvantaged; global uptake of online learning; growth of an ‘educational imperialism’; and the claim that ‘MOOCs are for male geeks’, and concludes with some observations about the University of Edinburgh’s future plans in this space.


digital education higher education MOOCs widening access 


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Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hamish Macleod
    • 1
  • Jeff Haywood
    • 1
  • Amy Woodgate
    • 1
  • Mubarak Alkhatnai
    • 2
  1. 1.University of EdinburghEdinburghUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.King Saud UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia

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