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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Academic Capitalism and Isomorphism in MOOC Course Offerings
by Hensley, Martin 'Brad', Ph.D., The University of Arizona, 2020, 199; 28256666
Abstract (Summary)

This study seeks to investigate curricular trends in MOOCs and institutional participation in the development of MOOC courses. The study is framed utilizing the theoretical lenses of academic capitalism and isomorphism—particularly Riesman’s conceptualization of a “snake-like procession” of isomorphism in American higher education lead by “elite” colleges and universities. Using those lenses, the following hypotheses were created that informed the research methodology: 1) course offerings in MOOCs are becoming increasingly professionalized, so, over time, more career-skill oriented courses will be expected to be offered and 2) as time progresses, elite higher education institutions (HEIs) will decrease their participation MOOCs while non-elite HEIs will increase their participation in MOOC course development. Descriptive data, crosstabulations, and chi-square analysis provide a starting point of analysis while a series of multilevel logistic regressions provides a more robust understanding of curricular trends.

The results of the study indicate that, overall, MOOC course offerings are increasingly professionalized. The findings indicated that all HEIs, as well as public, private, and non-elite HEIs were increasingly more likely to offered career-skill oriented courses as time progressed; elite HEIs and non-HEIs (i.e. corporations, nonprofit orgs, etc.) were not more likely to offer professionalized courses. Mixed evidence of isomorphism was found. Some evidence indicated that elite HEIs were decreasing their participation in MOOCs while non-elite HEIs were increasing theirs, adhering to Riesman’s theory; however, when looking at the professionalization of curriculum, it was evident that non-elite HEIs were leading the way, in contrast to Riesman’s theory. However, overall, HEIs—with the exception of elite HEIs—were increasing professionalization of MOOC course offerings.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lee, Jenny J.
Commitee: Rhoades, Gary D., Salazar, Karina G.
School: The University of Arizona
Department: Higher Education
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 82/8(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Higher education, Educational administration, Information science, Education Policy, Curriculum development, Political science
Keywords: Academic capitalism, Isomorphism, MOOCs, Curriculum trends, Institutional participation
Publication Number: 28256666
ISBN: 9798569976638
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