Cathrine Hasse

Perceptions of authority in a massive open online course: an Intercultural study

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In this article, we highlight culture as an important but often overlooked aspect in the conduct, research and design of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). Firstly, we review the role of culture in MOOCs research and conclude that it has been somewhat ignored. Secondly, we present a methodological framework – the culture contrast method – with which to approach the decisive role culture plays in MOOCs. Thirdly, with differing cultural backgrounds, we use the culture contrast method in a case study contrasting experiences, interpretations and perceptions of a particular MOOC. Our varying perceptions of how, when and why we experience a presence of authority emerge as a consistent theme in our data. Through the analysis of our data, we distinguish between the MOOC as an assemblage consisting of the online interface, the design and hardware we inhabit and the lifeworld as our local and situated, different cultures. We argue that in the run of the course, lifeworld and assemblage collide and enact a cultural authority. This authority sets the bar for what can be deemed proper practice within a MOOC and it gives preferential treatment to some rather than others.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Review of Education
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)221-239
StatePublished - 9 Feb 2018

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