#Change11 #CCK12 On research into MOOC

Here is my response to David Wiley’s post on Thoughts on conducting research into MOOC

Yes, David, we (and I) have done some researches into MOOC with the past 2 researches, and so please see the papers under publication for details of the researches.

You will find my research posts here, here and here.

There is a research group with MOOC Change11 where “we” have discussed all the options that you mentioned in your post.  I reckon that it would be worthwhile to explore the learners’ experience.  However, when it comes to participants’ satisfaction, it is a rather subjective measure and would not necessarily be a valid and reliable way to measure the “learning outcomes” of the course, as George and Stephen have stated clearly what are to be achieved in MOOC.  Such measure of satisfaction tends also to relate strongly to peoples’ attitudes towards certain ways of learning (the learning habits), or their preferred learning styles (again this is a controversial topics, where Roy, Jenny and I had tried to dig into in CCK08), and though I think there was a pattern emerging out of the research, it could be difficult to generalize on how people learn (most effectively, or purposely).
The emotional aspects and critical thinking (reasoning) of participants would also significantly impact on how participants value the course, based on their experience.  This is especially profound when people new to the course have difficulties in making sense of the learning, with a sense of isolation, due to the abundance of information at the beginning of the course, or when they didn’t feel their voices being heard, and so could withdraw from the connections or posting of blogs or comments on forum.  These would naturally lead them to become lurkers, remain as lurkers, throughout the course, or dropouts, if they didn’t find enough interests in the course.  This seems to relate to the participants’ needs and expectations, motivation and autonomy.
My past experience with research was: you could get very positive responses from a small sample of the participants (who were active participants, and would likely participate in your research).  However, those who were lurkers might not be too interested in responding.  Those who responded provided us with a range of “perceptions” and “experiences” from very positive to the not that positive (though these were always a few).  We still need to conduct research to understand all these learning experiences in a better way.
There are many others who have conducted researches into MOOC, with George, Stephen, Roy, Jenny, Frances, Rita, Helene, Wendy, and Antonio.
I have a few questions though:
1. Aren’t we all seem to be conducting researches in an “island of researches” mode?    On one hand, we are supporting and encouraging open learning, open research, but on the other hand, we all seem to be afraid of sharing our researches in fear that others would get ahead in researching and publishing them first in academia.  That seems to be at odds to the Open research golden paradigm.  But is that the reality?
2. What could be done to make researches on MOOC more collaborative, or cooperative?  Is networked MOOC research feasible?  What are the pros and cons of conducting research in an open, transparent manner?
3. Finally, I understand that PhD candidates have to conduct researches more independently, as they have to publish their papers to get their qualification.  Would that limit the possibility of doing research in a cooperative manner with other researchers, especially in an institutional environment?
4. Is open researchers (similar to open scholar) the way to go in future research?
More sharing in forthcoming posts.
Picture: Google picture
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