How to develop a GROOC: establishing group dynamics in MOOCs

Lachlan M. MacKinnon, Elisabeth Kabler

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


The term GROOC has recently been defined, by Professor Mintzberg of McGill University (McGill, 2015), to describe group-oriented MOOCs, based on one he has developed on social activism.He has also made it clear that he sees no requirement to provide additional support to address group dynamics, stating that groups should be able to handle losing a few members and still function appropriately (Poets & Quants, 2015). However, the existing research in this area, building from a massive research base in traditional group work theory (Cohen & Lotan, 2014), has identified that group formation and maintenance require considerable extra planning and support. The authors have recently completed the first instantiation of a MOOC, on Entrepreneurship and Innovation in IT, as part of the dCCD-FLITE (distributed Concurrent Design Framework for eLearning in IT Entrepreneurship)research project (dCCD-FLITE, 2015), and their research has confirmed the difficulties in both forming and maintaining groups, and student reluctance to engage in group-based activities. In this paper we discuss the existing research on establishing group dynamics in MOOCs, identifying the key factors influencing success and failure, and then consider the outcomes from the dCCD-FLITE MOOC. The authors have already reported on this work, and have now further analysed the data gathered from the MOOC to consider alternative approaches to establishing Group Dynamics in MOOCs, and are currently planning to run the course once more utilising social media as a catalyst for group formation and maintenance.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes
EventDEANZ Biennal Conference: There and Back: Charting flexible pathways in open, mobile and distance education - The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand
Duration: 17 Apr 201620 Apr 2016


ConferenceDEANZ Biennal Conference
Country/TerritoryNew Zealand


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