De-colonising the MOOC: A critical view of the platform model for global education

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This paper examines the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) through the critical lens of posthumanism and postcolonialism. It begins with outlining the MOOC project, before defining the theoretical framework of posthumanism and its intersection with postcolonialism. The analysis of the MOOC is then divided into three sections, which discuss the MOOC platform, its pedagogy, and its data collection practices, respectively. The first section outlines the dominant narrative of the MOOC, which foregrounds a particular framing of educational innovation and disruption, tied to the technology industry of Silicon Valley. The second section critiques the broadcast pedagogy of the platform MOOC embodied in the video lecture, which is shown to reinforce the dominance of elite universities. The Third section highlights the data collection strategies of the MOOC platform organisations, and discusses potential ways to readdress the significant imbalances in the ways research is conducted around these highly influential courses. The paper concludes with a summary of the key analytical points, and recommendations for future practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Distance Education in China
Issue number508
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2017


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