Teaching Massive, Open, Online, Courses (MOOCs): Tales from the Front Line





massive open online courses, MOOCs, online teaching, online learning, instructional design


Very little research has been conducted about what it is like to teach a MOOC. Given this, a mixed methods study, involving a survey of 186 MOOC instructors and 15 follow-up interviews, was conducted to explore the motivation, experiences, and perceptions of instructors who have taught massive open online courses. Findings indicate that instructors were motivated to teach MOOCs for three main reasons: (1) interest and passion, (2) publicity and marketing, or (3) benefits and incentives. Most instructors had little online teaching experience prior to teaching their first MOOC, but were satisfied with the experience. The majority believed their own MOOC provided a high quality learning experience but thought that MOOCs overall might not be as good as face-to-face courses. Concerns were raised about the future of MOOCs for online learning.

Author Biography

Patrick Lowenthal, Boise State University

Patrick Lowenthal is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Technology at Boise State University. Patrick teaches courses on web development, online course design, and emerging technologies. Patrick earned his doctorate at the University of Colorado Denver where he worked as an academic technology coordinator for a number of years. Patrick is interested in problems of practice with teaching and learning online. His research primarily focuses on how faculty and students communicate using emerging technologies and specifically how they establish presence and community online.



How to Cite

Lowenthal, P., Snelson, C., & Perkins, R. (2018). Teaching Massive, Open, Online, Courses (MOOCs): Tales from the Front Line. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 19(3). https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v19i3.3505



Research Articles