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Enhancing the Student Experience: Integrating MOOCs into Campus-Based Modules





Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are continuing to expand in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). In some cases, these courses are becoming integrated into institutions, to such an extent that they are being incorporated in the on-campus curriculum. There are a range of benefits which learners can enjoy when undertaking a university module in which participating in a MOOC is part of the syllabus, such as participating in wider learning communities, and accessing state-of-the-art learning materials. However, at the moment it is not easy to evaluate the outcome of integrating MOOCs into traditional university modules, as there is not yet a great deal of research reporting on the area. To address this research gap, this paper reports on a socio-technical intervention in which 46 undergraduates on the Online Social Networks module at the University of Southampton also had the Learning in the Network Age and Power of Social Media FutureLearn MOOCs, and an offline support programme, integrated into the syllabus for revision purposes. Learners were surveyed before the module started to establish their prior experience of and attitudes to MOOCs. In order to reach an assessment of the effectiveness of the intervention, the module final grades and result profile, the learners assessed reflections and the anonymized end-of-module feedback forms were analyzed. The module grade average increased by three percent, moving up a band, and the number of top grades awarded doubled. However, learner reflections and feedback were rather more mixed, with equal numbers of learners finding MOOCs of great value for deepening understanding as those who gained little benefit from the experience. Such diversity of outcomes led the researchers to a discussion of the barriers affecting a socio-technical approach to HE teaching and learning.

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Manuel León Urrutia

Research Fellow at University of Southampton & Scholarly communications director at Editorial Octaedro. Research Fellow with broad teaching and research experience in Higher Education. Broad skillset in Learning Design, E-Learning, Data Analysis, and Editing. Excellent track record of publications and conferences attended. 

Nicholas Fair

PhD researcher, Digital Educator and MOOC Creator, University of Southampton. Web Scientist and Digital Educator interested in Personal Learning Networks and their impact on higher education. 

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