The OER Knowledge Cloud makes use of cookies. By continuing, you consent to this use. More information.
MOOCs, openness and changing educator practices: an Activity Theory case study
Czerniewicz, Laura · Glover, Michael · Deacon, Andrew · Walji, Sukaina

PublishedMay 2016
ConferenceProceedings of the 10th International Conference on Networked Learning 2016
Pages 287-294

The practices and perceptions of educators formed through the creation and running of a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) provide a case study of how educators understandings of ‘openness’ change (Beetham et al 2012, p 3). We are interested in how educators engage with open education resources (OER) and openness as part of developing open online courses, and how this informs their practices and attitudes afterwards. Deepening understandings of these changes is important for informing strategies involving helping educators in adopting productive open educational practices. Our research question is how do educators’ practices change or not change when using - or not using - OER in and as a MOOC? We are interested in whether and why educators adopt open practices in their MOOCs. We employ an Activity Theory (AT) conceptual framework as a heuristic tool to track and thickly describe educators’ practices and perceptions. This frame enables us to locate educators’ practices - in a context of mediating nodes, i.e., tools/artefacts, rules, divisions of labour, and community – as they strive towards and consider their object. The object upon which the educators act is the development of a new interdisciplinary field. We focus on the role of two mediating artefacts introduced into the activity system, namely Creative Commons (CC) licenses and the ‘MOOC design’. We describe how the open aspect of these artefacts mediate and affect educator’s perceptions, attitudes and educational practices in the context of their object-directed activity system. We draw predominantly on semi-structured interviews with the MOOC lead educators and the MOOC learning designers. Interviews were conducted at two time intervals, before and after the MOOC has run. From this we craft two activity systems. We have categorised our findings according to Beetham et al’s dimensions of open practices. Further, two broad themes emerged from the data analysis. These are Affordances of the MOOC and Reflection on educational practices.

Keywords activity theory · higher education · MOOCs · OER · openness

Export optionsBibTex · EndNote · Tagged XML · Google Scholar

NLC paper.pdf · 311.8KB35 downloads

Viewed by 68 distinct readers


The evaluations below represent the judgements of our readers and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Cloud editors.

Click a star to be the first to rate this document


MOOC: Making and open educational practices
Czerniewicz, Laura; Deacon, Andrew; Glover, Michael; Walji, Sukaina
MOOCs have been seen as holding promise for advancing Open Education. While the pedagogical design of the first MOOCs grew out of the Open Education Movement, the current trend has MOOCs exhibiting fewer of the original ...
Match: Czerniewicz, Laura; Glover, Michael; Deacon, Andrew; Walji, Sukaina; MOOCs; OER

OER in and as MOOCs
Czerniewicz, Laura; Deacon, Andrew; Walji, Sukaina; Glover, Michael; et al.
This chapter reports on the investigation into the production and rollout of four Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa, and on the experiences of the educators ...
Match: Czerniewicz, Laura; Glover, Michael; Deacon, Andrew; Walji, Sukaina; OER

Learning through engagement: MOOCs as an emergent form of provision
Walji, Sukaina; Deacon, Andrew; Small, Janet; Czerniewicz, Laura
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are a new form of educational provision occupying a space between formal online courses and informal learning. Adopting measures used with formal online courses to assess the outcomes ...
Match: Czerniewicz, Laura; Deacon, Andrew; Walji, Sukaina; MOOCs

Increasing educational value: The transformation of MOOCs into Open Educational Resources
Kopp, Michael; Gröblinger, Ortrun; Zimmermann, Claudia; Kloos, Carlos Delgado; et al.
MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) have developed into one of the most prominent instruments of technology-enhanced learning, and their much-praised potential has often been connected to one of their core components: ...
Match: openness; higher education; MOOCs; OER

Higher education lecturers’ lived experience of going public in MOOCs
Olsson, Ulf
Academics in higher education are used to having their research publications reviewed and openly scrutinized. Teaching in higher education has traditionally been an individual academic’s activity that has taken place ...
Match: openness; higher education; MOOCs

O Conceito de Abertura em EAD [The concept of openeness in Distance Education]
This chapter discusses different interpretations and tendencies of what it means to be an 'open university'. Published in a Brazilian book that won the national award prize for educational titles - Prêmio ...
Match: openness; higher education; OER

Dimensions of open research: Critical reflections on openness in the ROER4D project
King, Thomas; Hodgkinson-Williams, Cheryl-Ann; Willmers, Michelle; Walji, Sukaina
Open Research has the potential to advance the scientific process by improving the transparency, rigour, scope and reach of research, but choosing to experiment with Open Research carries with it a set of ideological, ...
Match: Walji, Sukaina; OER

The Challenge of Open Education
Pantò, Eleonora; Comas-Quinn, Anna
Digital culture and the remix culture it has generated have changed the way in which knowledge and learning are constructed.‬ The last decade since the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) launched the Open ...
Match: higher education; MOOCs; OER

Openness in Education as a Praxis: From Individual Testimonials to Collective Voices
Bozkurt, Aras; Gjelsvik, Torunn; Adam, Taskeen; Asino, Tutaleni I.; et al.
Why is Openness in Education important, and why is it critically needed at this moment? As manifested in our guiding question, the significance of Openness in Education and its immediate necessity form the heart of this ...
Match: Czerniewicz, Laura

Higher education and Open Educational Resources in Asia: An overview
Dhanarajan, Gajaraj; Abeywardena, Ishan Sudeera; Dhanarajan, Gajaraj; Porter, David
Higher education has experienced phenomenal growth in all parts of Asia over the last two decades. This expansion, coupled with a diversity of provisions, has meant that more and more young Asians are experiencing ...
Match: practices; higher education