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"Wrapping a MOOC: Student Perceptions of an Experiment in Blended Learning " icon

Wrapping a MOOC: Student Perceptions of an Experiment in Blended Learning 

Although massive open online courses (MOOCs) are seen to be, and are in fact designed to be, stand-alone online courses, their introduction to the higher education landscape has expanded the space of possibilities for blended course designs (those that combine online and face-to-face learning experiences). Instead of replacing courses at higher education institutions, could MOOCs enhance those courses? This paper reports one such exploration, in which a Stanford University Machine Learning MOOC was integrated into a graduate course in machine learning at Vanderbilt University during the Fall 2012 semester. The blended course design, which leveraged a MOOC course and platform for lecturing, grading, and discussion, enabled the Vanderbilt instructor to lead an overload course in a topic much desired by students. The study shows that while students regarded some elements of the course positively, they had concerns about the coupling of online and in-class components of this particular blended course design. Analysis of student and instructor reflections on the course suggests dimensions for characterizing blended course designs that incorporate MOOCs, either in whole or in part. Given the reported challenges in this case study of integrating a MOOC in its entirety in an on-campus course, the paper advocates for more complex forms of blended learning in which course materials are drawn from multiple MOOCs, as well as from other online sources.

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