Merging MOOC and mLearning for Increased Learner Interactions
Inge de Waard (Athabasca University, Antwerpen, Belgium), Apostolos Koutropoulos (Department of Applied Linguistics, University of Massachusetts-Boston, Boston, MA, USA), Rebecca J. Hogue (University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada), Sean C. Abajian (California State University Northridge, Northridge, CA, USA), Nilgün Özdamar Keskin (Department of Distance Education, Anadolu University, Eskisehir, Eskisehir Province, Turkey), C. Osvaldo Rodriguez (Universidad Nacional de La Plata, La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina) and Michael Sean Gallagher (Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, University of Edinburgh, Newington, Edinburgh, UK)
Volume 4, Issue 4. Copyright © 2012. 13 pages.
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In this paper, the authors suggest the merger of the Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) format and mobile learning (mLearning) based on mutual affordances of both contemporary learning/teaching formats to investigate learner interactions and dialogues in an open online course. The paper presents a case study of how MobiMOOC, a course created using the MOOC format, demonstrates the synergistic characteristics between the MOOC format and mLearning, making a combination of both fields ideal for contemporary, digital, collaborative learning, and knowledge construction based on learner interactions and dialogue. MobiMOOC was a six-week online course focusing on mLearning that ran in April and May 2011. An end-of-course survey provides insight that supports the synergies between MOOCs and mLearning: collaboration, informal and lifelong learning, and dialogue.
Definition And Terms
Massive Open Online Course or MOOC
The term Massive Open Online Course or MOOC was first mentioned by two separate individuals: Bryan Alexander and Dave Cormier. The concepts behind and the actual realization of MOOCs were first introduced by Stephen Downes and George Siemens as they were building a course format, the so called Connectivism and Connective Knowledge (CCK) course, which first ran in 2008 (Downes, 2012, p. 10). A MOOC uses social media extensively to build the ad hoc learner community and to allow discussions and resulting learning to take place. Using a lot of social media increases the content that is created, which in turn demands the participants in a MOOC to be more experienced in self-regulated learning or pacing their own learning.
It is only in the last few years that the full capacity of mLearning has started to take shape and ubiquity has become a reality. This evolution in learning with mobile devices has resulted in different definitions of mLearning which evolved over time taking into account its most recent developments and understandings. mLearning is defined here as “learning across multiple contexts, through social and content interactions, using personal electronic devices” (Crompton, in press).
This research will look at the difference in learner interactions depending on the devices used to access an open, online course. For the purpose of this research, mobile devices are defined as those devices that are personal, portable and are connected to the internet on the go. As such mobile devices are all devices except fixed location computers (e.g., desktops) and/or laptops. Any other portable devices (tablets, smartphones, wifi-enabled portable devices such as iPods, wap-enabled cell-phones etc.) are seen as mobile devices.
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