New Year Resolutions, HCI and MOOCs

As MOOCs grow in popularity, the relatively low completion rates of learners have been a central criticism. I recently gave a lecture on MOOCs to a 2nd year undergraduates and the general consensus was that they just weren’t keen- with ‘engagement’ and ‘experience’ coming up a lot. Thinking about learner disengagement and user experience in general, doesn’t this focus on completion rates reflect a monolithic view? Does this imply that there are two groups of learners, the ones that adhere to the instructors’ expectations throughout the course and everyone else? Does this categorisation of ‘completers’ and ‘non completers’ obscures the individual differences (and interactions) of learners with the environment?

Even though I am not claiming to single-handedly solve the problem of disengagement in MOOCs, I have been thinking of how we can design to accommodate this. What role does design play in learner engagement with MOOCs?


For this reason, I have decided as part of my New Year resolutions) to enrol on two HCI related courses:

In order to enhance my understanding of MOOCs as a designer and researcher, it is necessary for me to ‘immerse’ into the abyss of MOOCs. I will be updating this blog on my ‘MOOCs journey’ once a week, focusing on study methods, course design, learning outcomes and just me overall experiences. I can’t really ‘compare’ the two courses as they have different foci and structure, but I will be discussing the design assignments, modules, and collaboration potential offered by each course. And do any of these insights present design challenges the HCI community could address?

So far I can only update you on how I feel after having enrolled on both courses…and it’s ‘lost’…I feel like I have embarked on a journey where I have a key but I can’t find the door….

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