Replies to an article about my two research models about MOOCs


I finally accessed to Twitter and found this interesting gentleman posting about his opinion on my two models developed in the last two years. It is very exciting to know that my research received some attention from scholars. That is the only satisfying part of this whole journey of exploring, alone and lost most of the time.

I quoted the article from Mr. Jiao in this blog and hope to discuss further with him about these two models. I wrote down some feedback on these two models in English between Mr Jiao’s Chinese lines below.



在线查阅慕课资料,看到了有关慕课的两个模型,很有意思。再进一步检索,发现作者叫 Jingjing Lin,想必是华人或华裔。在领英上找到她的中文名字,林晶晶。

林晶晶( Jingjing Lin)现在瑞士提契诺大学(University of Lugano)攻读博士学位。这个提契诺大学也叫瑞士意大利语区大学(Università della Svizzera italiana, USI),位于瑞士南部提契诺州最大的城市,卢加诺市。它是瑞士12所公立大学之一,也是瑞士意大利语区唯一的一所公立大学,建于1996年。

林晶晶在中国长大,在哈尔滨工程大学获得本科文凭,( Jingjing Lin)在瑞士攻读博士学位之前,她在香港大学攻速硕士学位,研究方向是 eLearning。之后,有四年时间在香港从事有关 eLearning相关项目,服务于社区、企业和地方大学。之后在瑞士这所大学的传播学院攻读博士学位。从相关介绍看,林晶晶的博士学位论文是有关旅游类慕课课程的研究。根据她的网站上的介绍,林晶晶将于2018年完成她的博士学位论文。


这里,我们还是聊回林晶晶的两个慕课模型吧!这两个模型分别是:慕课成分显示框架(MOOC Component Display Framework)和慕课教师创新决策过程模型(Innovation-Decision Process of MOOC Instructors)。这两个模型,想必都是林晶晶在有关旅游类慕课的研究中提出来的。


(Jingjing Lin, 2016)

This model was developed when I was trying to review 18 MOOCs in tourism and hospitality. The research work was then submitted to JoHLSTE journal and unfortunately, they did not appreciate this effort and rejected my revision in my fourth submission of work. The model is, however, somehow helpful when describing or evaluating the course components of a MOOC, if not thoroughly helpful. In the final submission, I updated the model, as displayed below.

And I wrote that:

“A conceptual framework was developed based on the literature review and the research interest of this study. It constructs six categories of components to examine a MOOC in depth.

  • Scaffolding includes components related to the overall description, structure, and support of a MOOC.
  • Lectures refer to the major teaching components in a MOOC.
  • Networking activities are designed to enhance the communication within the course and foster an engaging and active learning community.
  • Collaboration is those activities requiring collaborations among involved parties.
  • Assessment represent the assessment activities to test how well the learners have mastered the topics with (a) formative assessment: assessment activities that are conducted along the learning process to reflect on the learner’s development during the course, and (b) summative assessment: assessment activities that are conducted at the end of the course with the focus on evaluating the outcome of the course.
  • Affirmation lists the methods used by a MOOC to encourage or reward the learners’ effort.”

I am very happy to see the analysis and comments from Mr Jiao about this model. It is indeed deeply influenced by the Component Display Model (CDM) by M. David Merrill in 1983.


从这个模型的名字来看,想必作者林晶晶受美国当代教学设计理论家梅里尔先生的影响不小。我们都知道梅瑞尔的成分展示理论(Component Display Theory CDT)。这个理论从认知目标分类、呈现形式、呈现形式与业绩相匹配、呈现间关系等方面,对教学活动作了精细严密的处方式说明。

我个人觉得,这个框架为慕课课程的比较、观察和评论提供了一个很好的理论框架。林晶晶提出的『课程支架』(Curriculum Scaffolding)、『沟通活动部分』(Communication Activies)、『讲授内容』(lecturing Content)、『课程认证』(Recognition)、『评估评价』(Assessment)、『相互协作』(Collaboration)等六大元素共28个元素,可以大体上刻画和描述一门慕课的成分和形态,为后续有关慕课课程的研究奠定了一个坚实的基础。

有关沟通活动部分(Communication Activies)需要增加,比如我们的课程中有关直播课程的内容无法呈现出来。再比如,我们为慕课课程提供的课程日历,为学习者提供的学习方法指导,第0周课程内容的设计等等,在这个模型的课程支架(Curriculum Scaffolding)部分无法得到呈现。

The live broadcasting activities can be categorized into Networking if it is an interactive activity; or categorized into Lecture, if it is a one-way broadcasting and archived as a video lecture for later access. A calendar can definitely go into Scaffolding category. Methods tutoring can go into Scaffolding category, as well. The model was retrieved from reviewing 18 MOOCs in tourism and hospitality. The limitation also lies here. It cannot draw a full picture of all possible elements to be included in a MOOC. What I do feel necessary is to make the First-Level Categories more exclusive to each other so that more second-level components can be discussed further.

我们再来看林晶晶的另外一个模型:慕课教师创新决策过程模型(Innovation-Decision Process of MOOC Instructors)。据林晶晶在自己的网站上介绍,这个模型是她在准备一篇会议论文的时候,受Everett M. Rogers的著名的创新扩散理论的启发而提出来的。

(Jingjing Lin, 2016)
 在这个图中,林晶晶将慕课的实施(Implementation)分为三个阶段: 课程准备(Prepare)、课程运作 (Operate) 以及课程评价(Evaluate)。

其中,课程准备(Prepare),课程团队在网上设计、开发和发布内容,做好准备。在课程运作 (Operate)阶段,课程团队开展在线运营,提供学习支持服务。而在课程评价(Evaluate),从有效性,可学习性,参与度,投资回报率等方面对慕课课程进行评估。之后,这门慕课课程的教学就结束了(例如,在线存档以进行自学习),课程进入不活跃期。


This model has been further modified as well, like what I did to the previous model. And I am very happy that the relevant research has been accepted by one top journal in eLearning field – IRRODL journal, and will be published soon.

Title: Decision, Implementation, and Confirmation: Experiences of Instructors behind Tourism and Hospitality MOOCs

Abstract: As the popularity of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) continues to grow, studies are emerging to investigate various topics in this area. Most have focused on the learners’ perspective, leaving a gap in the literature about MOOC instructors. The current research—conducted in the field of tourism and hospitality—explored early experiences of MOOC instructors as they progressed through three stages of the innovation-decision process: decision, implementation, and confirmation. The tourism and hospitality field was chosen because its related industries contribute significantly to global employment, and training is one of their critical success factors. MOOCs possess a good potential to benefit tourism and hospitality education, yet tourism and hospitality MOOCs are under-researched. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six instructors who offered tourism and hospitality MOOCs between 2008 and 2015. Findings revealed that (1) the instructors’ decisions to offer MOOCs were mostly influenced by their institutes’ interests in MOOCs; (2) when the instructors implemented MOOCs, a pattern of action emerged, which included six phases and one cross-phase element: prepare, design, develop, launch, deliver, evaluate—and across phases: support and train; (3) most instructors chose to avoid risk in their adoption and implementation of the MOOC, staying away from innovative teaching or learning activities such as peer-review assessments and collaborative activities, and (4) half of the instructors intended to repeat the experience of teaching in the MOOC format in the future.

The results again were based on six interviews I did with six tourism and hospitality MOOC instructors. Based on their descriptions, I created a panorama map of the process of implementing MOOCs for instructors. The map includes six phases—prepare, design, develop, launch, deliver, and evaluate—as well as one cross-phase element: support and train.


My understanding of MOOCs, after three years sleeping with it, is that it is an online course, not that much different from other eLearning courses designed or developed before, most of the time. The innovative part is that it opens a window to higher education provided by elite universities worldwide and allows the public to walk and shop. Not necessarily pay for such shopping experience, as known by all ladies, but it does satisfy the desire to try on things you like and walk away free if it does not fit you. And yes, these two models seem to be not tailored for MOOCs but they indeed came out of MOOCs and their providers’ experiences. Maybe, again, MOOCs per se are not that revolutionary as we thought.

But if you look at the big data available in MOOCs, it will be possibly completely another story. After all, what makes MOOCs magical includes the mass audience, which is impossible in a traditional course, either online or offline produced before.


I finally finished my Ph.D. thesis! Would love to share with you all here on my blog soon, once it passed the review committee at USI.


You are welcome to email me on: or Look forward to further discussion.



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