Learner Autonomy in Beginning Language MOOCs (LMOOCs): The Student Teachers' Perspective
Carolin Fuchs [+]
City University of Hong Kong
This case study explores the concept of learner autonomy in beginning language massive open online courses (LMOOCs) in response to a call for current MOOC education practices to promote more structured support and systematic scaffolding. The study draws on the experiences and perspectives of 15 English as a Second/Foreign Language student teachers at a private graduate institution on the East Coast of the U.S. Participants enrolled in beginning LMOOCs of their choice and tracked their learning process/progress in regular logs as part of their spring 2015 technology elective. In this study, the focus is primarily on self-reported system interaction and profile data, and data collection instruments include a needs analysis, weekly MOOC logs, and a post-MOOC questionnaire. Results indicate participants’ low overall motivation to complete their LMOOCs, a lack of interaction and negotiation opportunities, and the system’s reliance on learner autonomy due to insufficient guidance, scaffolding, and instructor feedback. Yet, in working around such shortcomings, some participants exercised their agency by taking additional LMOOCs, locating external materials, and asking for native speaker assistance. This suggests foregrounding setting goals and employing metacognitive strategies, and exposing learners to an in-depth discussion of key concepts such as autonomy and agency.