The who, why and what of MOOCs

Adrian Norman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)


In the area of online learning massive open online courses have attracted much attention in recent years. In 2014, quantitative research into MOOCs is starting to appear but relatively little is known about the learner experience in these environments. This paper reports on an ongoing study involving a mixed methods approach with a multiple embedded case study design which investigates what people bring with them into MOOCs and how they self regulate their learning in these unique environments. A preliminary analysis of data collected in a survey administered to the registrants of a health sciences MOOC confirms what the recent research tells us about who signs up for MOOCs: that they are likely to be young, male, and educated. In particular, individuals enroll with learning intentions other than the traditional trajectory of 'completion'. The unique characteristics of individuals in MOOCs need be foremost in our mind if we are to better understand effective learning in massive courses.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRhetoric and reality
Subtitle of host publicationcritical perspectives on educational technology : proceedings ascilite Dunedin 2014
EditorsBronwyn Hegarty, Jenny McDonald, Swee-Kin Loke
Place of PublicationDunedin, New Zealand
PublisherAustralasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)9780473307509
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventAustralasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education Conference (31st : 2014) - Dunedin, New Zealand
Duration: 23 Nov 201426 Nov 2014


ConferenceAustralasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education Conference (31st : 2014)
CityDunedin, New Zealand

Bibliographical note

Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • MOOCs
  • higher education
  • online learning
  • learning intentions


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