A Multi-Criteria Decision Making Approach for Evaluation of MOOCs Platforms

A Multi-Criteria Decision Making Approach for Evaluation of MOOCs Platforms

Sunil Pratap Singh (Dayalbagh Educational Institute (Deemed University), India) and Preetvanti Singh (Dayalbagh Educational Institute (Deemed University), India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9577-1.ch023
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Technology and globalization have increased accessibility to higher education. In recent years, the concept of online or distance learning has expanded to a growing number of Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs), i.e. enrolling in free higher education courses open for any Internet user. MOOCs are recent trends in distance learning promoted by several prestigious universities. This Chapter describes what MOOC is with review of the history, its characteristics, advantages, and different platforms for developing of MOOCs. The authors also discuss the multi-criteria nature of MOOCs and identify the parameters important for selecting a MOOC platform. It is hoped that MOOC will enhance accessibility, student engagement, and experiences for lifelong learning which will empower and inspire educators around the world and promote success in learning.
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2. Background

The term MOOC was used for the first time in 2008 for a course offered by the Extension Division of the University of Manitoba in Canada. This non-credit course, Connectivism and Connective Knowledge (CK08) was designed by Siemens, Downes and Cormier. 25 on-campus students were enrolled and 2,200 students enrolled in the free online version. Downes classified this course as connectivist or cMOOCs, because of its design (Carr, 2012; Rodriguez, 2012).

In 2011, Thrun and Norvig from Stanford University, launched a MOOC on The Introduction to AI (artificial intelligence) that attracted over 160,000 enrollments, followed by two other MOOCs, also in computer sciences, from Stanford instructors Ng and Koller. Thrun went on to found Udacity, and Ng and Koller established Coursera (Carr, 2012). These are for-profit companies using their own specially developed software that enable massive numbers of registrations and a platform for the teaching. Udacity and Coursera formed partnerships with other leading universities where the universities pay a fee to offer their own MOOCs through these platforms. Udacity is now focusing more on the vocational and corporate training market.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Massive Online Open Course (MOOC): MOOC is defined as an online course with the option of free and open registration, a publicly-shared curriculum, and open-ended outcomes.

Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP): AHP is a multi-criteria measurement which addresses how to determine the relative importance of a set of criteria in a decision problem.

Course: It should have some learning objectives to be achieved by learners after certain activities within in a given period of time. In addition, it should have some quizzes and exams to assess the knowledge acquired by learners.

cMOOC: A cMOOC emphasizes the connectivist philosophy. It is a social platform for collaboratively sharing and building knowledge within a community of people.

Open: Open has several meanings in MOOCs. On one hand, the course should be open to everyone and should not require some prerequisites such as possession of a qualification or a level of performance in earlier studies. On the other hand, the access to educational resources (videos, lecture notes) should be free.

Fuzzy and Defuzzification Concept: A fuzzy concept is a concept of which the boundaries of application can vary considerably according to context or conditions, instead of being fixed once and for all, i.e. the concept is vague in some way, lacking a fixed, precise meaning, without however being unclear or meaningless altogether. Defuzzification is the process of producing a quantifiable result in fuzzy logic.

Massive: Massive means it should allow access to a very large number of students, much larger than a face-to-face class, or a traditional online course.

xMOOC: An xMOOC relies on a more traditional model of education, based on lectures recorded in videos, and usually is well-financed.

Online: In the context of MOOC means that the course is done remotely via the Internet and does not require physical attendance at a classroom.

Multi-Criteria Decision Making (MCDM): MCDM is the study of methods and procedures by which concerns about multiple conflicting criteria can be formally incorporated into the decision making process.

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