Online learning is one of the fastest-growing segments of the education system. One of the recent innovations is the massive open online course (MOOC). Since 2008, numerous MOOCs have been run by public and elite universities. Most recently, Stanford, MIT, Harvard, and other universities have embraced the MOOC format through significant resource allocation. MOOCs are not solely confined to elite US universities, as the format is now offered by institutions and education systems around the world.
While MOOCs are beginning to burgeon in the higher education space, research in the area is still very limited. For educators, learning designers, and university administrators, making decisions around MOOC design and deployment can be difficult given the lack of published research.
A special issue of the MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching (JOLT) will address the weak MOOC research base. Both papers reporting on empirical studies/evaluations (research papers, case studies) as well as conceptual and position papers will be considered for publication in the special issue (see http://jolt.merlot.org/guidelines.html for descriptions of the types of papers JOLT accepts).
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