The voices of autism: Using MOOC technologies to meet the needs of vulnerable communities

Michael Grimley, Timothy Moss, Emma Donaldson, Eoghan Hogan

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

Abstract

While Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) launched with great optimism and the promise of transforming higher education, their implementation has often failed to realise this potential. Across the sector, MOOCs typically attract an audience of already-educated participants with a curiosity for learning that ranges across multiple topics and issues; many engage with multiple courses. This community often do not present with the commitment required to expend the mental effort to achieve completion, and completion rates of 5-10% are not atypical. Given such low rates of completion, it has been argued that MOOCs are simply a fad, of poor quality and low retention (Haggard, 2013). However, relatively few MOOCs have been developed within Australia that leverage the opportunities provided by free, large-scale educational platforms to address the learning needs of specific communities. This paper reports on the development and delivery of such a MOOC, focusing on raising awareness of the lived experience of individuals with autism, designed for and with the autism community. Utilising MOOC technologies to meet the information and support needs of a specific community demonstrated participation and completion rates significantly above those reported in traditional MOOCs, and points to new directions and purposes for large, open learning environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages380-384
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018
Event35th International Conference of Innovation, Practice and Research in the use of Educational Technologies in Tertiary Education, ASCILITE 2018 - Geelong, Australia
Duration: 25 Nov 201828 Nov 2018

Conference

Conference35th International Conference of Innovation, Practice and Research in the use of Educational Technologies in Tertiary Education, ASCILITE 2018
CountryAustralia
CityGeelong
Period25/11/1828/11/18

Keywords

  • Education for social good
  • Learning technologies
  • MOOC
  • Online retention

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