In this Are Online Learners Frustrated with Collaborative Learning Experience by Neus Capdeferro and Margarida Romero:
The analysis of student frustration in our study also shows that assessment inequities are important sources of frustration; the implication for institutions is that they must conduct a coherent assessment. The use of individual, self, peer, and group assessment techniques can be extremely beneficial for both students and instructors in all forms of online collaborative learning (Roberts, 2005).
Institutions may supply learning environments that facilitate social interaction and collaboration and assure effective support to students with technological difficulties. Technological difficulties can cause student frustration as well as communication problems, which hamper collaborative processes such as explanations, sharing answers, and negotiation (Ragoonaden & Bordeleau, 2000).
The implication for instructors is that it is improtant to to know when intervention is needed in online CSCL and to what degree. Teachers with instructional and student experience in online CSCL (having completed at least one course) will be aware of sources of frustration and will take corrective actions. The instructor should play an active role in the collaborative process. He or she should be proactive in monitoring and intervening in collaborative activities (Chapman & van Auken, 2001; Hansen, 2006) and should ensure that the group works effectively (Tideswell, 2004; Brindley, Walti, & Blaschke, 2009) through mechanisms for assistance, feedback, and evaluation.
Based on the above findings and conclusion, it seems that such frustrations are often associated with the assessment, in terms of equities, fairness in assessment of individuals and the group, and the apportioning of efforts and contribution of individual group members. This is a common issue though even in face-to-face learning scenario. This relates to the design of assessment projects, activities, and the use of tools such as wikis, blogs (individual and group blogs) and the forum by learners.
In the case of MOOCs, since assessments were only formally applicable to credit learners (with 24 credit learners in CCK08) and not to the 2400 plus non-credit learners, the equity in assessment might not be that apparent or even an issue. Here in The Meaning of Connectivism for Learning Design George Siemens explains about how assessment was done in CCK08.
What are the feelings of people being assessed in CCK and MOOCs? As highlighted in my previous posts, previous MOOC researches revealed that participants put assessments rather low in priority, among other factors of success. The possible reason would be that non-credit learners weren’t looking for formal accreditation, and so they didn’t see assessment as mandatory throughout the course of study. Besides, participants could choose what they like to learn in the course, in order to achieve their learning goals (like the development of PLE, or the learning of tools, or the theory and practice of Connectivism and Connective Knowledge) in networks or institutional learning. Such learning may not be adequately assessed through the typical assessment tools and metrics designed by institutions.
Technological difficulties can cause frustration as well as communication problems. This is common in most online learning, and so these feelings of frustration have also been found in the case of MOOC, as reported in previous researches (Mak, Williams and Jenny, 2010) on CCKs and MOOC.
In order to overcome the problem of frustrations, Neus Capdeferro and Margarida Romero reiterated the importance of knowing when to intervene, by the instructors. Intervention by instructors seems to be part of the responsibility of the instructors, especially in formal online course. However, to what extent would such intervention be effective, in the case of MOOC? Kop, Fournier and Mak (2011) in their Research on MOOCs have revealed the importance of teaching presence in enabling and supporting meaningful learning among learners:
“This research showed the importance of making connections between learners and fellow-learners and between learners and facilitators. Meaningful learning occurs if social and teaching presence forms the basis of design, facilitation, and direction of cognitive processes for the realization of personally meaningful and educationally worthwhile learning outcomes.”
I would like to conduct a comparison study on the feelings and perceptions of participants in MOOCs (i.e. past courses) with the current Change11 and CCK12 MOOCs.
Would you be interested in such research?