Digital culture clash: “massive” education in the E-learning and Digital Cultures MOOC

Jeremy Knox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

While education has been both open and online, the sizeable enrolment numbers associated with massive open online courses (MOOCs) are somewhat unprecedented. In order to gauge the significance of education at scale, this article analyses specific examples of massive participation derived from E-learning and Digital Cultures, a MOOC from the University of Edinburgh in partnership with Coursera. Student-created content, user statistics, and survey data are illustrated to examine the experiences and repercussions of engaging with educational activity where participants number in the tens of thousands. This activity is shown to mirror established instructionist or constructivist approaches to pedagogy. However, rather than working with “massiveness,” these positions are suggested to oppose large participant numbers. Concluding remarks propose an irreducible diversity of participation, rather than a generalised categorisation of “student,” and call for future considerations of the MOOC to move beyond individualism and self-interest.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-177
Number of pages14
JournalDistance Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2014


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