An Examination Of Peer Support Behaviours enacted in Stanford’s Principles of Economics Massive Open Online Course

Appiah-Kubi, Kwamena (2019) An Examination Of Peer Support Behaviours enacted in Stanford’s Principles of Economics Massive Open Online Course. PhD thesis, University of Lincoln.

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An Examination Of Peer Support Behaviours enacted in Stanford’s Principles of Economics Massive Open Online Course
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Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
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Abstract

The primary aim of the researcher in this study is to examine the interactions of participants in a massive open online course (MOOC) from a new perspective, specifically focused on social interactions and peer support. So far, most studies on participants’ interactions in MOOCs have utilised surveys and computational statistics procedures across several MOOCs with results highlighting broad interaction patterns.

In this study, the researcher shifts the focus to a single MOOC utilising the elements of Teaching and Social Presence from the Community of Inquiry framework to examine the online text-based discussion forum of a MOOC where participants in the course interacted with each other. This led to the development of a typology characterising the social interactions and peer support observed.

MOOCs enable students all over the world to access learning resources from various institutions across the globe. MOOCs, by their nature, attract thousands of participants with a broad spectrum of experiences and interests. This presents its own set of challenges and opportunities. One such challenge in MOOCs is the very low instructor-participant interaction due to the handful of available facilitators to cater to the large number of participants. MOOC literature suggests that participants have varied levels of knowledge, with some being professionals taking the course out of interest. Opportunity hence exists for participants to support each other with their learning. However, the literature also suggests that the development of interpersonal relationships may be stifled due to the large number of participants. The results of this study show that participants do provide support to their fellow. However, only a small subset of teaching presence was actively carried out, with the most predominant being Direct Instruction, which captures the provision of resources and illustrative examples to answer questions or provide feedback. The social environment was also observed to be open and relaxed, allowing participants to express their ideas freely. However, the results also show that the interactions were not towards community building.

This research constitutes an original contribution to knowledge because of its use of content analysis to assess peer exchanges in a discussion forum of a MOOC to develop a typology of participants’ social and peer support interactions. This provides valuable insight that can inform future research directions as well as pedagogical strategies course designers and facilitators can employ in their courses.

Divisions:College of Science > School of Computer Science
ID Code:47481
Deposited On:06 Dec 2021 10:20

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