Journal of Computers in Education

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 309–328 | Cite as

The emerging pedagogy of MOOCs, the educational design of technology and practices of study

  • Thomas Storme
  • Nancy VansieleghemEmail author
  • Steven Devleminck
  • Jan Masschelein
  • Maarten Simons


During the last years, MOOCs (massive open online courses) are part of the most discussed developments in educational technology. MOOCs swept the landscape of educational technology in no time. However, through all this enthusiasm, it is difficult to see the contribution of MOOCs to computer-based education. Even though there is a surge in MOOCs as well as in MOOC-research, it is unclear how an effective MOOC-pedagogy can be developed. What is this MOOC-phenomenon? And how can we, as educators, teachers, pedagogues, educational researchers, develop MOOC-pedagogy? In the first part of this paper, we’ll start with an overview of the MOOC-phenomenon. In the second part, we’ll discuss the implicit philosophical attitudes towards educational technology that underlies much of the MOOC-debates. We then argue that, rather than a theoretically grounded approach to educational technology, common sense attitudes of essentialism and instrumentalism prevail. In the last part of the paper, we suggest to concentrate on the educational design of technology and on the development of practices of study necessary to deal with technology, in order to develop a meaningful educational practice.


MOOCs Educational design Practices of study Socio-material perspective 



This study is supported by an OOF-grant from KU Leuven Association—OOF 2014/30 - The b-side of screen-learning: a MOOC to think with eyes and hands. Participants involved in the project are: Kris Cardinaels (co-supervisor), Marc De Blieck, Teis De Greve, Didier Deschrijver, Steven Devleminck, Roel Kerkhofs, Jan Masschelein (co-supervisor), Maarten Simons, Thomas Storme, Nancy Vansieleghem (supervisor)


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© Beijing Normal University 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LUCA School of Arts, GhentGhentBelgium
  2. 2.LUCA School of Arts, BrusselsBrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.Laboratory for Education and SocietyKU LeuvenLouvainBelgium

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