Understanding MOOCs as an Emerging Online Learning Tool: Perspectives From the Students

I. Min Liu, Jina Kang, Mengwen Cao, Mihyun Lim, Yujung Ko, Ryan Myers, Amy Schmitz Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined participants' learning experiences in the context of a six-week massive open online course (MOOC) in journalism with five thousand students from 137 countries. Three research questions were asked: (1) Who are the students and why are they enrolled in this MOOC?, (2) How much time have the students spent in taking this MOOC and have they completed all the assignments?, and, (3) What have they learned and what aspects of this MOOC do the students find most helpful? Four hundred and nine students responded to a survey and forty-four responded to interview questions. The main findings showed 84% of the participants were working professionals and only 28.9% were from a journalism background. Of those who did not complete the course, lack of time was the top reason. Most participants reported a positive learning experience, but lack of feedback and/or poor quality were reported as negative experiences. The discussion forum was the least liked aspect of the course.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-159
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Distance Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications


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