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Title: Evaluation of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) from the learner’s perspective
Authors: Nkuyubwatsi, Bernard
First Published: 2013
Presented at: The 12th European Conference on e-Learning ECEL-2013, 30-31 October 2013, Sophie Antipolis, France.
Start Date: 30-Oct-2013
End Date: 31-Oct-2013
Abstract: Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) is one of the most debated topics in the field of education. The polemic on MOOCs was sparked by the emergence of extension MOOCs (xMOOCs) in late 2011. Highly disputed issues about MOOCs range from their quality to the potential impact of the courses on higher education in both developed and developing countries. This paper discusses, from the learner’s perspective, the quality of MOOCs and their potential contribution to widening participation and improving quality in Rwandan higher education. To gain first-hand experience as a learner, I enrolled in one cMOOC and three xMOOCs. I compared and contrasted the four MOOCs with my previous radio, online and face-to-face courses and learning with institutions across five continents. I conducted a cross-case analysis of the four MOOCs and six categories under which my previous courses fall. Through this analysis, I identified the recurring patterns and organised them into five themes: openness, availability, diversity, delivery and interactivity. I argue that MOOCs are currently among the most open courses and can lead to meaningful learning. Face-to-face and other kinds of online courses provide more interaction with the tutor than MOOCs do. Face-to-face course also provide the campus experience with peers which is absent in online courses. However, MOOCs and other online courses are superior to face-to-face courses in terms of flexible delivery and the 24 hour per day availability. Some MOOCs are also more diverse in terms of participants, activities and assessment. Despite various constraints, xMOOCs can mitigate financial difficulties and the shortage of higher education teachers in Rwanda. They can also trigger the empowerment among Rwandan students and learners. Both xMOOCs and cMOOCs can enable network creation and maintenance, multicultural educational experience and lifelong learning in that country. The paper closes with an argument that MOOCs can contribute to widening access and improving quality in higher education globally, and specifically in Rwanda.
Version: Pre-print
Type: Conference Paper
Rights: Copyright © the authors, 2013. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike Licence (
Appears in Collections:Conference Papers & Presentations, Institute of Lifelong Learning

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