In recent years, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have gained significant popularity as a means of widening access to higher education. However, despite their potential to engage diverse learners, MOOCs often struggle to foster social interaction and build communities of learners. One key challenge is the existence of social boundaries that hinder participation and collaboration, limiting the overall effectiveness of MOOCs as educational platforms. This study aims to explore these unanswered social boundaries within MOOCs and propose a novel solution using a virtual portal.
Abstract: The boundaries that separate learners in MOOCs are multifaceted, ranging from cultural and linguistic differences to disparities in prior knowledge and socio-economic backgrounds. These boundaries create social divisions, hindering effective collaboration and participation among learners. Existing research has primarily focused on pedagogical strategies and technological enhancements to address this issue, often overlooking the complex social dimensions. In this study, we employ a mixed-methods approach to understand the underlying social barriers and propose a virtual portal as a potential solution.
Abstract: The proposed portal, designed as an integrated feature within MOOC platforms, seeks to bridge the social boundaries by providing a shared space for learners to interact, collaborate, and engage in collective learning experiences. Leveraging artificial intelligence algorithms, the portal will facilitate personalized recommendations, adaptive group formation, and targeted interventions, effectively addressing individual needs and fostering a sense of belonging within the MOOC community.
Abstract: This research project aims to investigate the impact of the portal on social interactions, learner engagement, and academic outcomes in MOOCs. We will employ a two-phase research design, consisting of a pre-implementation survey to identify existing social boundaries and a post-implementation evaluation to measure the effectiveness of the portal in overcoming these barriers. The study will involve a diverse sample of MOOC learners, representing various demographic profiles and educational backgrounds.
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