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A Phenomenology of Learning Large: The Tutorial Sphere of xMOOC Video Lectures

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Distance Education Volume 35, Number 2, ISSN 0158-7919


The current discourse surrounding Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) is powerful. Despite their rapid and widespread deployment, research has yet to confirm or refute some of the bold claims rationalizing the popularity and efficacy of these large-scale virtual learning environments. Also, MOOCs' reputed disruptive, game-changing potential for education remains unsubstantiated. A sober counterbalance is needed, in particular, via attending to students' everyday accounts of the complex realities of learning in these massive online courses. This article reports on an exploratory, phenomenological study of the xMOOC learning experience. Our interest was not the xMOOC experience of students in general, but in its singular, "lived" particularities. What we discovered was a unique and intimate tutorial sphere that seemed to develop for some xMOOC students in the context of the video lectures, an experience sometimes marked by a sense of fandom surround.


Adams, C., Yin, Y., Vargas Madriz, L.F. & Mullen, C.S. (2014). A Phenomenology of Learning Large: The Tutorial Sphere of xMOOC Video Lectures. Distance Education, 35(2), 202-216. Retrieved June 5, 2020 from .

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