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"MOOCs: Striking the Right Balance between Facilitation and Self-Determination " icon

MOOCs: Striking the Right Balance between Facilitation and Self-Determination 

Recent research suggests that a growing proportion of formal learning occurs outside formal educational settings, where information and learning opportunities are mediated by technology. The rise of massive open online courses (MOOCs) in the last few years bears witness to this phenomenon. This contribution considers whether MOOCs afford a collaborative environment in which participants can develop the necessary literacy skills to become successful self-directed learners and members of online communities. It also discusses the extent to which self-determination and participatory literacy might be relevant for success in different types of MOOCs. The paper draws on data from OT12, an 8-week MOOC on open translation tools and practices run in 2012 by the Department of Languages of The Open University in the United Kingdom. The data consist of pre- and post-course surveys covering learners' backgrounds and prior experience of translation, expectations and challenges envisaged, and evaluation of outcomes. The authors conclude that to conceive of MOOCs as environments where individuals coalesce around a common endeavor is to raise a series of under-explored challenges. For organizers, the challenge lies in learning design and facilitation, and the extent to which their assumptions about the participants match the learners' capabilities. For learners, the challenge rests in self-determination and participatory literacy skills.

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