Junjie Chen


The massive open online course (MOOC) is among the latest e-learning initiative to attain widespread popularity students, professors, and teaching assistants (TAs). A systematic review focusing on the use of MOOCs by students and instructors was conducted to summarize the accumulated state of knowledge concerning the main motivations and challenges of using MOOCs, as well as to identify issues that have yet to be fully addressed or resolved. The findings suggest four reasons why students sign up for MOOCs: the desire to learn about a new topic or to extend current knowledge, they were curious about MOOCs, for personal challenge, and the desire to collect as many completion certificates as possible. The drop out is due mainly to reasons including a lack of incentive, failure to understand the content material and having no one to turn to for help, and having other priorities to fulfill. The findings suggest three main reasons why instructors wish to teach MOOCs: being motivated by a sense of intrigue, the desire to gain some personal rewards, or a sense of altruism. Four key challenges of teaching MOOCs are also surfaced: difficulty in evaluating students’ work, having a sense of speaking into a vacuum due to the absence of student immediate feedback, being burdened by the heavy demands of time and money, and encountering a lack of student participation in online forums. Finally, two issues that have yet to be fully resolved, i.e., the quality of MOOC education and the assessment of student work, were also discussed.

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