A Framework for the Analysis of Collaborative and Interactive Elements in MOOCs

Andersen, Rasmus Kvist , Kristian Garp, Kevin Nellemann, Melissa Frost Nielsen, Rikke Ørngreen

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The number of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and the number of participants therein have exploded within the last couple of years. The literature on MOOCs (according to e.g. Clark, Daniel and Kolowich) mentions several characteristics of MOOCs: flexible, free, and providing room for niche subjects of learning. Criticism points to questionable quality and lack of student activation. Few empirical investigations focus on systematic analysis of student interaction in MOOCs.

In this paper, the argument is that interaction between participants’ of MOOCs on subject matter issues are a sign of collaborative knowledge construction processes and, as such, signs of learning (in line with the CSCL thinking of Laurillard, Stahl, Sorensen, and Salmon). This paper presents a study whose objective is to identify methods for analyzing and evaluating the nature of collaborative knowledge construction in the discussion forums of a MOOC, and relate this to the overall learning objective and educational design for learning of the specific MOOC that is analyzed.

The analytical frame builds on two theoretical mindsets on interaction and collaboration. Language Games (LG) (as defined by Wittgenstein and applied in Sorensen, Takle, and Moser in CSCL) are applied as a method to investigate the structural elements. That is, the participants are viewed as the ‘players’ in a conversation process; ‘players’ that engage in games, where, for example, both openings and closing are viewed as vital in a successful interaction. In MOOCs, the volume of structural elements in selected online dialogues and the exemplary LG that is implemented becomes interesting. Salmon’s Five-Stage model is the second tool, where the same selected dialogues are analyzed to identify where in the Five-Stage model (5S) the participants are interacting from, and if any progression occurs in the duration of the course. Moreover, the overall educational design is evaluated on the basis of Salmon’s ideas.

In the winter of 2013, the Coursera course ‘A Brief History of Humankind’ was analyzed. The findings show that the collaborative knowledge construction process occurs from the first week onward, and that the quality in a Salmon 5S view improved from week 1 to 10, but there are also contradicting findings regarding mutual respect and conversational tone. The analysis using LG finds that structural elements are important for the quality of the game, as responsibility and closing of games is seldom present, but that the games are initiated and many posts are made within the rules of the games.

As such, this framework reveals paradoxical trends. There are authentic collaborative knowledge construction processes, although the number of active participants may be very few compared to the number of people enrolled. There are signs of collaboration, where the disruptive nature of MOOCs as a learning innovation argues against the postulate that MOOCs are solely transmissive in nature. Perhaps, MOOCs instead transcend the traditional Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) perspectives for those who want to participate actively. This is discussed further in the paper.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 13th European Conference on e-Learning ECEL-2014 Copenhagen
Place of PublicationUK
PublisherAcademic Conferences and Publishing International
Publication date2014
Pages19-28
ISBN (Print)978-1-910309-67-4
ISBN (Electronic)2048-8637
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Event13th European Conference on e-Learning - Aalborg University, Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 30 Oct 201431 Oct 2014
Conference number: 13

Conference

Conference13th European Conference on e-Learning
Number13
LocationAalborg University, Copenhagen
CountryDenmark
CityCopenhagen
Period30/10/201431/10/2014
SeriesEuropean Conference on e-Learning

Fingerprint

learning
interaction
dialogue
language analysis
learning objective
language
activation
respect
conversation
criticism
student
innovation
responsibility
lack
trend
history

Keywords

  • MOOC
  • CSCL
  • Knowledge construction
  • Five-Stage model
  • Language Games

Cite this

Rasmus Kvist , A., Garp, K., Nellemann, K., Nielsen, M. F., & Ørngreen, R. (2014). A Framework for the Analysis of Collaborative and Interactive Elements in MOOCs. In Proceedings of the 13th European Conference on e-Learning ECEL-2014 Copenhagen (pp. 19-28). UK: Academic Conferences and Publishing International. European Conference on e-Learning
Rasmus Kvist , Andersen, ; Garp, Kristian ; Nellemann, Kevin ; Nielsen, Melissa Frost ; Ørngreen, Rikke. / A Framework for the Analysis of Collaborative and Interactive Elements in MOOCs. Proceedings of the 13th European Conference on e-Learning ECEL-2014 Copenhagen. UK : Academic Conferences and Publishing International, 2014. pp. 19-28 (European Conference on e-Learning).
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Rasmus Kvist , A, Garp, K, Nellemann, K, Nielsen, MF & Ørngreen, R 2014, A Framework for the Analysis of Collaborative and Interactive Elements in MOOCs. in Proceedings of the 13th European Conference on e-Learning ECEL-2014 Copenhagen. Academic Conferences and Publishing International, UK, European Conference on e-Learning, pp. 19-28, 13th European Conference on e-Learning, Copenhagen, Denmark, 30/10/2014.

A Framework for the Analysis of Collaborative and Interactive Elements in MOOCs. / Rasmus Kvist , Andersen,; Garp, Kristian; Nellemann, Kevin; Nielsen, Melissa Frost; Ørngreen, Rikke.

Proceedings of the 13th European Conference on e-Learning ECEL-2014 Copenhagen. UK : Academic Conferences and Publishing International, 2014. p. 19-28 (European Conference on e-Learning).

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review

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Rasmus Kvist A, Garp K, Nellemann K, Nielsen MF, Ørngreen R. A Framework for the Analysis of Collaborative and Interactive Elements in MOOCs. In Proceedings of the 13th European Conference on e-Learning ECEL-2014 Copenhagen. UK: Academic Conferences and Publishing International. 2014. p. 19-28. (European Conference on e-Learning).