The use of MOOCs in transnational higher education for accreditation of prior learning, programme delivery, and professional development
Annabi, Carrie Amani
MetadataShow full item record
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate how, and the extent to which, massive open online courses (MOOCs) might be used in the accreditation of students’ prior learning, in programme delivery at international branch campuses, and for lecturers’ professional development (PD) in transnational higher education. Design/methodology/approach The data were obtained from two international branch campuses in the United Arab Emirates. The research adopted a qualitative methodology that involved 20 lecturers participating in semi-structured interviews and ten lecturers participating in a focus group. A rigorous process of content analysis was used to analyse and interpret the data. Findings Lecturers in transnational higher education perceived that MOOCs were not suitable for accredited prior learning but that they might be useful as a supplementary resource for student learning and for personal PD. There was a strong belief that as international branch campuses offered a commodified product, MOOCs were unlikely to be adopted as a replacement for traditional programme delivery methods, as students strongly prefer face-to-face teaching and support. Practical implications The research has identified a number of recommendations for higher education institutions operating in transnational settings, which might improve both institutional and individual performance. Institutions that intend to use MOOCs in programme delivery should consider how their students and staff would react to such a move, and how this might impact upon institutional image and reputation. Originality/value Surprisingly, there has been little academic research published on the use of MOOCs in higher education, and to the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study conducted in a transnational education setting. The uniqueness of the environment in which international branch campuses operate, as well as their different objectives and student profiles, provide the rationale for this research.