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Higher education and the digital revolution: About MOOCs, SPOCs, social media, and the Cookie Monster

Andreas M. Kaplan and Michael Haenlein

Business Horizons, 2016, vol. 59, issue 4, 441-450

Abstract: Distance learning—that is, providing education to students who are separated by distance and in which the pedagogical material is planned and prepared by educational institutions—is a topic of regular interest in the popular and business press. In particular, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), which are open-access online courses that allow for unlimited participation, as well as SPOCs (Small Private Online Courses), are said to have revolutionized universities and the corporate education landscape. In this article we provide a nuanced analysis of the phenomenon of online distance learning. We first provide an overview of its historical evolution, and subsequently define and classify key concepts. We further discuss in detail the optimal target group in terms of participating students and teaching professors and propose corresponding frameworks for driving intrinsic student motivation and for choosing a successful online teacher. We also outline the benefits that institutions can achieve by offering online distance learning. Finally, we speak about the specific connection between online distance learning and social media by focusing on the difference between MOOCs based on traditional lecture formats (xMOOCs) and connectivist cMOOCs.

Keywords: Academia; Business schools; Distance learning; Executive education; Higher education; MOOC; SPOC; Social media; Teaching; University management (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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