Taking Advantage of MOOCs in K-12 Education: A Blended Approach

Taking Advantage of MOOCs in K-12 Education: A Blended Approach

Samantha Briggs (Old Dominion University, USA) and Helen Crompton (Old Dominion University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5472-1.ch060
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Technological opportunities are opening new ways for educators to enhance K-12 instruction. While many educators are incorporating digital technologies into their teaching, there is evidence to show that K-12 educators have a lack of training, time, and resources to implement learner-centered digital instruction. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS) have gained a reputation for providing online learning in higher education and are now extending to K-12. The unique digital advantages as well as the rising number of students enrolled in schools has led to discussions about the potential of MOOCS for students in K-12 (ages 4-19 years) education. This chapter provides a review of the literature of early pioneering work of MOOCs in K-12 within North America. Early MOOC classes are explicated and positives and challenges discussed. It appears from the review that there is a place for MOOCs to be embedded into a blended K-12 environment to extend and enhance existing curricula.
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Learner-centered instructional environments facilitate the learning process and improve overall learning outcomes (Blumberg, 2008). However, researchers have found that instructors find difficulties designing courses based on learner-centered principles due to physical boundaries and time constraints (Brush, & Saye, 2000). With the emergence of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), researchers (viz., Li, Zhang, Bonk, & Guo, 2015) posit that blending MOOCs into traditional instruction can support those learner-centered principles. Advocates, such as Thurne (2003), postulate that blended learning is a logical and natural evolution to a pedagogical framework. Thurne describes it as an elegant solution to the challenges of tailoring instruction to meet the needs of individuals. It provides an opportunity to take advantage of both the technological advances provided by online learning and participation in traditional learning (Suprabha, & Subramonian, 2015). This chapter articulates the use of MOOCs in a K-12 blended learning environment in North America.

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