Disciplinary Differences Manifested through NTU MOOCs Forums: A Community of Inquiry Perspective
|Keywords:||大規模開放線上課程;探究社群;臨場感;學科差異;同儕學習;華人學習者;內容分析;MOOC;Community of Inquiry;Presence;Disciplinary Difference;Peer-Learning;Chinese Learner;Content Analysis||Issue Date:||2015||Abstract:||
隨著Udacity、Coursera與edX等MOOCs平台接連推出，世界各地知名大學投入開課行列，至今已有超過4000門使用各種語言開設不同學科的MOOCs課程。雖然MOOCs可以降低高等教育成本，並結合連結主義、翻轉教室、學習分析等進行教學創新，然而MOOCs的低完成率飽受批評，導致MOOCs學習者行為研究隨之而起。一些研究者發現MOOCs課程完成者經常會活躍於討論區，可見討論區互動與良好的MOOCs學習經驗有關。因此，本研究利用已成熟發展的探究社群理論架構做為資料分析架構，針對MOOCs討論區進行質化與量化內容分析，藉由觀察討論區展現的社會臨場感、認知臨場感以及教學臨場感，呈現目前MOOCs學習者的互動經驗並據此對於教學團隊及平台設計者提出建議。 由於先前針對MOOCs討論區進行的實證研究多為單一課程個案並以西方學習者為研究對象，這些研究成果未必能推及其他學科與華人學習者。本研究以國立臺灣大學於Coursera開設的「職場素養」、「紅樓夢一」、「工程圖學」、「基礎光學一」四門課程作為研究對象，藉由比較四門課程展現的軟硬學科及應用基礎學科特色，提出差異化的建議。 研究結果顯示，四門中文MOOCs的探究社群臨場感分布具有顯著差異。軟學科課程不具有特定知識典範而鼓勵個人闡述己見，促使討論區展現較多人際溝通類別的社會臨場感、探索階段的認知臨場感與直接指導類別的教學臨場感；硬學科課程有特定知識典範且重視知識權威，討論區會展現較多開放溝通類別的社會臨場感與觸發事件階段的認知臨場感。應用學科課程重視經驗與應用，討論區會展現較多人際溝通類別的社會臨場感且更容易進入決議階段的認知臨場感；基礎學科課程重視理論性知識且知識門檻較高，則使討論區展現較多探索階段的認知臨場感。 除了學科特性的影響，MOOCs特色也是造成四門中文MOOCs討論區臨場感分布差異的原因。首先，MOOCs的學習者組成特性會引發增加社會臨場感與教學臨場感出現機會的特殊對話，且這些特殊對話會隨著學科特性有所不同。MOOCs學習者因為組成背景多元，會展開世代、兩岸、專業、動機的交流對話，並且因為可以彈性進出MOOCs課程而出現延後進入課程者、提早離開課程者、不回應後續對話者及即時同步對話者的特殊對話，這些對話都促使討論區產生更多自我揭露的機會。同時，MOOCs學習者為了解決人數眾多造成的溝通問題，自行發展出「頂文」與「歪樓」策略。其次，MOOCs的評分機制會引發更多提升認知臨場感與教學臨場感質量的特殊對話。一方面同儕互評機制使討論區出現系統操作問題、作業分數爭議、評分標準說明、反思評分標準、發起教學活動、作業分享、回應同儕評語的討論，另一方面自動評分機制也讓討論區出現系統操作問題、作業設定錯誤舉報、挑戰作業繳交次數、交流時顧慮作弊的對話。MOOCs討論區的標籤他人、匿名發言、正負評評分機制的功能亦會影響不同臨場感的展現。有鑑於探究社群編碼表未能分析所有MOOCs特色引發的對話類型，未來應繼續發展學習臨場感或後設認知臨場感使此理論架構更為完善。 最後，研究者發現四門中文MOOCs討論區的對話展現出尊師重道、重視非語言表達、避免衝突的華人學習者特色，同樣會影響四門中文MOOCs討論區的臨場感分布。 本研究不同於既往文獻，以華人學習者為研究對象，同時針對四門不同學科類型的課程進行比較。除了根據結果提出提升討論區互動成效的具體建議，也對於探究社群編碼表提出修正建議，同時發展能對應不同臨場感的MOOCs討論區訊息主題分類表，以利後續研究者參考。
In 2012, the launch of the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) platforms Udacity, Coursera and edX prompted leading universities such as Stanford, MIT, and Harvard to immediately offer MOOCs. According to the MOOCs accumulator Class Central, the cumulative number of MOOCs will total nearly 4000 by 2016. These free online courses, from different disciplines and taught in several languages, can reduce the cost of higher education and improve teaching by combining education with Connectivism, the Flipped Classroom, and Learning Analytics. However, MOOCs face a serious problem of the low completion rate. Researchers have conducted studies on MOOCs learners’ behaviors to remedy this issue, and have found that those who complete MOOCs courses tend to actively participate in the forums. Under the assumption that forum interactions positively impact the MOOCs learning experience, this study has adopted the “Community of Inquiry” theoretical framework to analyze messages in MOOCs forums. This researcher will observe how social presence, cognitive presence, and teaching presence are presented in MOOCs forums, making recommendations to MOOCs teaching teams and platform designers accordingly. Because most MOOCs forum research studies have focused on one course and are aimed at western learners, their results may not be applicable to all disciplines and Chinese learners. Therefore, this study quantitatively and qualitatively analyzes the content of four Chinese MOOCs offered on Coursera by National Taiwan University: “Professionalism,” “Red Chamber Dream 1,” “Engineering Graphics,” and “Basic Optical 1.” By presenting the disciplinary differences and interaction characteristics of Chinese learners, this study will be able to make specific recommendations to Chinese MOOCs teaching teams in different disciplines. This researcher finds significant differences between the categories of social presence, cognitive presence and teaching presence in the four sampled Chinese MOOCs. Soft subject students (students in disciplines that lack a fixed paradigm) are encouraged to make different interpretations and are therefore present more in the “Interpersonal Communication” category of social presence, “Exploration” stage of cognitive presence, and “Direct Instruction” category of teaching presence. Hard subject learners (students in disciplines that have a fixed paradigm) depend on accumulative knowledge and accordingly are present more in the “Open Communication” category of social presence and “Triggering Event” stage of cognitive presence. Applied subject (where application of knowledge is heavily emphasized) students are present more in the “Interpersonal Communication” category of social presence and “Resolution” stage of cognitive presence, while pure subject (where application of knowledge is less heavily emphasized) learners are present more in the “Exploration” stage of cognitive presence. In addition to these disciplinary differences, the characteristics of MOOCs also impacts how these students develop their presence in the forums. The diverse background of MOOCs learners may lead to new dialogues that increase social presence and teaching presence. The multiple learning paths available to these students—such as delayed course takers, early course takers, no follow-up learners, and synchronous communicators—may cause more self-exposure in the forums. Finally, MOOCs learners learn to bump messages and change thread topics to solve communication problems caused by the presence of large-scale participation, which may also increase their social presence. Additionally, the design of the MOOCs assessment system and forums will also lead to more conversations that enhance the quality and quantity of the cognitive presence and teaching presence. Adopting peer assessment will lead to MOOCs learners discussing the following in the forums: technical problems, controversies over scoring, practices of rubrics, and reflections on assignment design. Students also are more likely to share assignments, respond to reviewers’ opinions, and hold learning activities in the forums. However, the automatic grading system not only triggers discussions about system errors or bugs, but also leads to MOOCs learners considering the possibility of cheating. As for the function of MOOCs forums, the voting system provides an important way to express opinion even though tagging other learners and anonymous discussions are not beneficial for the social presence. Besides these results, this study identified Chinese learners’ characteristics that impact forum presence development: respecting their professors, paying attention to non-verbal expressions, and avoiding conflicts, and developed a message topic classification table based on the MOOCs forums that can refer to a specific presence. Subsequent research can adopt these recommendations to optimize the Community of Inquiry theoretical framework.
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