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Analyzing Learning in a Massive Open Online Course for Teachers

Dr. Karen Thompson

Proposed research abstract

In Fall 2014, Oregon State University launched its first massive open online course (MOOC), Supporting English Language Learners Under New Standards. Funded by the Oregon Department of Education and created in partnership with Stanford University, this course was designed to provide K-12 teachers with specific professional development and enrolled more than 5,000 educators. Using pre- and post-course surveys, assignment submissions with peer evaluations, discussion board posts, and interviews with participants from this MOOC, as well as later iterations of the same MOOC, we will answer two research questions. First, what did participants learn as a result of MOOC participation and how did this impact their work as teachers?  Second, What structural supports provided by schools and/or districts, including what aspects of blended learning environments, facilitated participants’ learning within the MOOC? To realize the potential of MOOCs such as this one, it is crucial that we better understand what supports meaningful learning among MOOC participants. The research project outlined here will serve as an important step towards answering these questions, helping OSU understand whether and how to support MOOCs in the future and also moving the broader field of online learning forward in improving MOOC design and implementation.

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