A systematic review of the socio-ethical aspects of massive online open courses

Posted on July 22nd, 2016

A study from the European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning conducted a systematic literature review to explore socio-ethical dimensions of MOOCs. The aim of the research was to look at the opportunities MOOCs have provided for equality and inclusivity, as well as the difficulties faced. The author acknowledged how “technological innovations that have given rise to MOOCs, and the new pedagogies that are emerging, are redefining educational possibilities.” However, she states that “these developments have outpaced our critical thinking around the fundamental principles of how to deliver an education that is ethically sound…Many of the articles published provide empirical evidence showing that both forms of MOOCs offer opportunities to learn and connect across geographical boundaries, yet we are at a point where social inclusion is polarised toward the more privileged.” The author says there are questions regarding the quality of MOOCs and how quality should be assured. She argues that “more insight into digital literacies…and how learners and facilitators can effectively collaborate online will push further the boundaries of inclusion.”