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"Teacher Experiences and Academic Identity: The Missing Components of MOOC Pedagogy " icon

Teacher Experiences and Academic Identity: The Missing Components of MOOC Pedagogy 

The way teachers are represented in relation to massive open online courses (MOOCs) has created a limited and unhelpful characterization of an important role. The key argument put forward in this position paper is that attending to the complexity of the MOOC teacher's experience and identity will ultimately support productive dialogue about retention, access, and the meaning and purpose of the MOOC – dialogue that, at present, typically focuses on the student or the technology, but is silent on the matter of the teacher. The paper begins by exploring how common constructions of "the teacher" – as the charismatic celebrity professor, the co-learner or facilitator, or the automated response – have emerged in the MOOC literature, and challenges the underlying assumptions about teaching. Its central section comprises an account of a team of MOOC teachers' reflections on designing and teaching a MOOC – E-learning and Digital Cultures, on the Coursera platform – and an exploration of how their experiences problematize common perceptions of the MOOC teacher. Finally, taking as an alternative starting point the higher education literature on academic identities, the authors highlight the complex effects of academic discipline, institution, and personal and professional values.


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