Massive open online change? Exploring the discursive construction of the 'MOOC' in newspapers

Neil Selwyn, Scott Anthony Bulfin, Luciana Jane Pangrazio

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    28 Citations (Scopus)


    Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have been a prominent topic of recent educational discussion and debate. MOOCs are, in essence, universityaffiliated courses offered to large groups of online learners for little or no cost and are seen by many as a bellwether for change and reform across higher education systems. This study uses content and discourse analysis methods to examine how understandings of MOOC-related ?change? were presented in US, UK and Australian newspapers. Drawing on detailed analysis of 457 newspaper articles published between 2011 and 2013, the findings point to a predominant portrayal of MOOCs in relation to the massification, marketization and monetization of higher education, rather than engaging in debate of either ?technological? or ?educational? issues such as online learning and pedagogy, instructional design or student experience. The article then considers the reasons underpinning this restricted framing of what many commentators have touted as a radical educational form?not least the apparently close association between MOOCs and the economics of higher education.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)175 - 192
    Number of pages18
    JournalHigher Education Quarterly
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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