The Discourse Among Community College Faculty Regarding the Integration of Massive Open Online Courses Open Access

This study was designed to document the discourse of faculty in regards to the integration of massive open online courses (MOOCs) among the community college sector. The study examined what presuppositions faculty held about MOOCs and the significance of these notions for higher education. Additionally, the study reviewed the ways in which community college faculty made references to MOOCs in their everyday discourse.Participants were selected from two Maryland institutions of higher education known for referencing MOOCs through their websites and publications. Participants comprised full-time and part-time instructional faculty who had worked at least two consecutive semesters in the community college sector in the three academic years prior to the focus group. Previous participation in a MOOC was not required for eligibility, but a basic understanding was recommended. Between the two institutions, four focus group interviews were held. Each focus group had four participants, for a total of 16 participants. Following each focus group interview, participants were contacted to participate in a one-on-one semistructured interview. Gee's tenets of discourse analysis were used to document the conversational discourse surrounding MOOCs as a way to understand where the discussions started, where they currently are, and what will be discussed in the future. Faculty viewed characteristics of MOOCs with polarizing perceptions: they either agreed or disagreed with various aspects of MOOCs and rarely discussed middle ground options. Most faculty members had a basic awareness of MOOCs, but few (6 of the 16) participants reported first-hand experience. Participants reported a need to learn more about MOOCs in order to move the conversation into the direction of acceptance and acknowledgment among the community college sector. As the result of participants' limited experiences with MOOCs, most of their presuppositions and everyday discourse was based on their teaching experiences and comparisons to current traditional teaching models. MOOCs were viewed as more of a supplement to higher education than a standalone learning forum.

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