The Development of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in New Zealand
Liz Gordon, Michael A Peters, and Tina Besley (Centre for Global Studies in Education, University of Waikato, Hamilton, NZ)
Completed: June 2014
About the project
This is a preliminary study of the development of massive open online courses (MOOCs) in the New Zealand tertiary education sector. It is a research study, involving a series of original interviews with those involved in MOOCs as staff, senior leaders and developers in universities and polytechnics, union and student leaders and several officials from government agencies who had an interest in the field. The study also includes a brief literature search and a large collection of newspaper articles and reviews.
Five key themes were identified out of the literature and interviews for further investigation:
- The potential disruption to existing models of tertiary education
- The concept of openness and open learning
- The ability of the Internet to deliver a technological revolution in learning
- The political economy of higher education, and
- Questions around teaching and learning.
An introductory section locates the MOOCs debate in its international perspective. Over the past two years, a series of MOOC ‘platforms’ have been developed that group learning organisations together to organise courses. Courses tend to be entry level. There has been an explosion of course numbers, especially during 2013.
The source of the MOOC model is traced to an open learning course in 2008, which celebrated connectivism. That course, and others, is clearly identified as a cMOOC (connectivist), representing one strand of MOOCs. Practitioners in New Zealand have significant engagement with various cMOOC models.
Two New Zealand universities are engaged in international xMOOC (platform-led investment) organisations, and have begun to offer courses through those platforms.
The potential for collaboration between tertiary organisations was considered. The participants believe in the potential of MOOCs to help meet social and practical goals in tertiary education, but the way forward is not clear.
A broad conclusion examines the ‘rise and fall’ of MOOCs and considers options for sustainable development.
A number of local and international references are provided and the interview schedule used for this project is appended.
This work is published under the Creative Commons 3.0 New Zealand Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike Licence (BY-NC-SA). Under this licence you are free to copy, distribute, display and perform the work as well as to remix, tweak, and build upon this work non-commercially, as long as you credit the author/s and license your new creations under the identical terms.