Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) at elite, early-adopter universities: Goals, progress, and value proposition
by Kassabian, Dikran, Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2014, 178; 3635748
Abstract (Summary)

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have become a hot topic in higher education and have undergone rapid growth. More than 800 MOOCs have been offered to the public from more than 200 of the most well known universities in the world, with millions of learners taking them. While many elite universities have developed MOOCs, their motivations have not been entirely clear. This qualitative case study research explores what three early adopter universities, Columbia University, Duke University, and Harvard University, hope to achieve by becoming involved and investing in MOOCs, how they are assessing progress toward goals, and what value proposition they seek as a return on their investment. The findings of this research suggest that the studied universities have several goals in common and a few that differ, and importantly, that several of their goals do not directly align with the public narrative around MOOCs in the press. In particular, while the goals of the studied universities do include expanded access to education, their goals may have even more to do with promoting teaching innovation and providing benefits for their residential education. None of the studied universities were focused on improvements to higher education completion challenges through pursuit of MOOC credit, or the use of MOOCs as a way to control higher education costs—both of which are major elements of the public dialogue on MOOCs. Other goals of the early adopters studied included providing more visibility for some of their educational programs and their faculty, and enabling more evidence-based education research. This study concludes that the value proposition for early adopter universities is the ability to simultaneously pursue the goal of improving on-campus teaching and learning while also promoting the university and its faculty and connecting through educational outreach with the public—all while showing leadership in an emerging higher education learning technology.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Garland, Peter H.
Commitee: Werbach, Kevin, Zemsky, Robert M.
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Higher Education Management
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 76/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Educational leadership, Educational technology
Keywords: Massive open online courses, Online education
Publication Number: 3635748
ISBN: 9781321170672
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