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The Emergent Role of the MOOC Instructor: A Qualitative Study of Trends Toward Improving Future Practice ARTICLE

, Pepperdine University, United States ; , National University, United States

International Journal on E-Learning Volume 14, Number 3, ISSN 1537-2456 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC USA


Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) differ from other teaching environments in both the potentially “massive” number of participants and the “open” aspect of teaching in a public forum. Early MOOC instructors have of necessity worn many hats: subject matter expert, facilitator, researcher, producer, director, and curator. These evolving and interwoven responsibilities, and questions about how the role of MOOC instructor is currently being performed, were the catalysts for this investigation. Eight MOOC instructors were interviewed for this study. Each shared perceptions of the instructional assets required for success in a MOOC. Using a case study approach and qualitative interview methodology, this study chronicles current practice with an eye toward emergent, effective practice. Whether a collaborative, connectivist cMOOC style or video-lecture-based xMOOC style, or something in between, the role of the instructor is largely pedagogical—oriented toward planning and preparing the MOOC experience. As a result, real-time, engagement from MOOC instructors during a course likely has little effect on most participants.


Haavind, S. & Sistek-Chandler, C. (2015). The Emergent Role of the MOOC Instructor: A Qualitative Study of Trends Toward Improving Future Practice. International Journal on E-Learning, 14(3), 331-350. Waynesville, NC USA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved August 17, 2018 from .


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