Designing for Learning in a MOOC: A Pedagogical Model in Disguise


  • Claire Leonie Donald University of Auckland
  • Elizabeth Ramsay University of Auckland
  • Inken Joerg University of Auckland



MOOCs, learning design, pedagogical model


This paper describes a recently developed MOOC on introductory statistics from the perspective of the educators, learning designers and learners. It portrays their experiences of the learning design, both as process and product, and compares the teaching intentions inherent in the learning design to the experience of teaching and learning on the MOOC for the first two years of its implementation. We describe the pedagogical model, ‘disguised’ beneath the surface functionality and steps of the MOOC platform, and how it frames some of the planned learning sequences. Reflecting on the teaching, learning and design features of this highly structured MOOC, we share the lessons learned about designing for learning and teaching that pertain to MOOC environments, and those that apply to other contemporary university classrooms.

Author Biographies

Claire Leonie Donald, University of Auckland

Claire Donald is a lecturer and learning designer with the eLearning Group in the Centre for Learning and Research in Higher Education at the University of Auckland. Her research interests are in science and engineering education, learning design, teacher beliefs and learning analytics.

Elizabeth Ramsay, University of Auckland

Elizabeth Ramsay is a learning designer with the eLearning Group in the Centre for Learning and Research in Higher Education at the University of Auckland. She is also the editor of the Centre’s biannual magazine Academix.

Inken Joerg, University of Auckland

Inken Joerg is a graduate of the University of Education Heidelberg and at the time of writing, an intern and research assistant with the eLearning Group in the Centre for Learning and Research in Higher Education at the University of Auckland.


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