TOWARD A NEW UNDERSTANDING
OF MOOCS:
AN EXPLORATION OF MASSIVE OPEN
ONLINE COURSE ADOPTION USING
THE DIFFUSION OF INNOVATI...
LINK TO PRESENTATION
http://bit.ly/swpaca14-mooc
TO MOOC
OR
NOT TO MOOC
Source: https://secure.flickr.com/photos/hatm/5704123809
Source: https://secure.flickr.com/photos/aliciagriffin/2904408803
Sources: www.commdev.ohio.edu/News_events/conferencesplash
books.simonandschuster.com/Diffusion-of-Innovations-5th-Edition
DIFFUSION
“the process by which
(1) an innovation
(2) is communicated through certain channels
(3) over time
(4) among the...
WHAT DOES THE
LITERATURE TELL US?
A literature review of the diffusion of
innovative teaching and learning
practices in hi...
LESSONS LEARNED
(SEE HANDOUT)
• 

Senior staff need to support an innovation for it to spread
effectively

• 

Innovation ...
TOP 10 DISSEMINATION
MISTAKES (SEE HANDOUT)
•  We assume that evidence matters in the decision making of potential adopter...
TOP 10 DISSEMINATION
MISTAKES (SEE HANDOUT)
•  We confuse authority with influence. Persons high in positional or formal a...
Source: https://secure.flickr.com/photos/hatm/5704123809
TO MOOC OR NOT TO MOOC
“Given the ever-changing world of technology, how
might the Innovation-Decision Process be streamli...
Focus of decision-making criteria

Slightly adapted from Rogers, Everett M. Diffusion of Innovations. 5th ed. New York: Fr...
Source: https://secure.flickr.com/photos/49889874@N05/5907238032
MOOC
ATTRIBUTES
Relative advantage
Compatibility
Complexity
Trialability
Observability

Rogers, Everett M. Diffusion of In...
RELATIVE ADVANTAGE
•  Definition: the degree to which the new
idea is perceived to be an improvement
over the idea it supe...
RELATIVE ADVANTAGE:
ECONOMIC PROFITABILITY
•  What resources would be needed to support
MOOC adoption (including implement...
RELATIVE ADVANTAGE:
ECONOMIC PROFITABILITY
•  What would be the return on investment of
these resources?
•  What is the le...
RELATIVE ADVANTAGE:
SOCIAL PRESTIGE
•  What effect would MOOC participation have
on the image of our institution as percei...
RELATIVE ADVANTAGE AND
OVERADOPTION
•  Occurs when an innovation is adopted even
when experts would recommend not adopting...
COMPATIBILITY
•  Definition: the degree to which the new
idea is perceived to be consistent with
potential adopters’ needs...
COMPATIBILITY:
VALUES AND BELIEFS
•  What are stakeholders’ values and beliefs
regarding the format of class instruction? ...
COMPATIBILITY:
PAST EXPERIENCES
•  What past experiences of the institution are
related to MOOCs? (e.g., distance educatio...
COMPATIBILITY:
NEEDS
•  Are there perceived needs regarding the
format of instruction and learning?
•  Does the format of ...
COMPLEXITY
•  Definition: the degree to which the new
idea is perceived as relatively difficult
to use and understand

Rog...
COMPLEXITY:
TECHNICAL
•  What level of technical expertise is needed to
successfully adopt a MOOC (e.g., learning
how to u...
COMPLEXITY:
PEDAGOGICAL
•  What level of pedagogical expertise is
needed to successfully adopt a MOOC (e.g.,
learning how ...
TRIALABILITY
•  Definition: the degree to which the new
idea can be experimented with on a
restricted basis

Rogers, Evere...
TRIALABILITY
•  Is it possible to try out a MOOC on a
limited basis? In other words, could a
pilot test be run? If yes, wh...
TRIALABILITY AND CHANGE
•  Innovations are almost never a perfect
match to an organization
•  Successful innovations are o...
Source: https://secure.flickr.com/photos/mathplourde/8620174342
OBSERVABILITY
•  Definition: the degree to which the
results of the new idea are visible by
others

Rogers, Everett M. Dif...
OBSERVABILITY
•  What can we learn from other
institutions’ use of MOOCs, especially
institutions similar to ours?
•  Cons...
FACULTY INPUT IS CRITICAL
•  Cannot be an afterthought—needs
to be forefront in the conversation
•  How to best seek this ...
POSSIBLE SURVEY ITEMS
AND RESPONSE CHOICES
Learners participating in MOOCs can achieve the
same learning outcomes as learn...
POSSIBLE SURVEY ITEMS
AND RESPONSE CHOICES
[My institution] should pilot a MOOC.
a) 
b) 
c) 
d) 
e) 
f) 

strongly agree
a...
POSSIBLE SURVEY ITEMS
AND RESPONSE CHOICES
If MOOC development was an option, I would
consider participating.
a) 
b) 
c) 
...
POSSIBLE SURVEY ITEMS
AND RESPONSE CHOICES
The following attributes would affect my choice of
whether to participate (plea...
Source: https://secure.flickr.com/photos/hatm/5704123809
Source: https://secure.flickr.com/photos/aliciagriffin/2904408803
QUESTIONS?
COMMENTS?
SUGGESTIONS?

Contact info:
Email: mitzi.lewis@mwsu.edu or pamela.morgan@mwsu.edu
Twitter: @mitzilewi...
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An Exploration of Massive Open Online Course Adoption Using the Diffusion of Innovation Theory

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A paper presentation for the 35th Annual Southwest Popular/American Culture Association Conference Pedagogy & Popular Culture 4: New Technologies IV – Digital Footprints Panel

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An Exploration of Massive Open Online Course Adoption Using the Diffusion of Innovation Theory

  1. 1. TOWARD A NEW UNDERSTANDING OF MOOCS: AN EXPLORATION OF MASSIVE OPEN ONLINE COURSE ADOPTION USING THE DIFFUSION OF INNOVATIONS THEORY Mitzi Lewis, Ph.D. Pam Morgan, Ph.D. Midwestern State University 35 t h Annual Southwest Popular/American Culture Association Conference Pedagogy & Popular Culture 4: New Technologies IV – Digital Footprints February 20, 2014
  2. 2. LINK TO PRESENTATION http://bit.ly/swpaca14-mooc
  3. 3. TO MOOC OR NOT TO MOOC
  4. 4. Source: https://secure.flickr.com/photos/hatm/5704123809
  5. 5. Source: https://secure.flickr.com/photos/aliciagriffin/2904408803
  6. 6. Sources: www.commdev.ohio.edu/News_events/conferencesplash books.simonandschuster.com/Diffusion-of-Innovations-5th-Edition
  7. 7. DIFFUSION “the process by which (1) an innovation (2) is communicated through certain channels (3) over time (4) among the members of a social system” Rogers, Everett M. Diffusion of Innovations. 5th ed. New York: Free Press, 2003. Print.
  8. 8. WHAT DOES THE LITERATURE TELL US? A literature review of the diffusion of innovative teaching and learning practices in higher education revealed that the change model that “dominated” the papers reviewed was the diffusion of innovations theory (Smith 178) Smith, Karen. "Lessons Learnt from Literature on the Diffusion of Innovative Learning and Teaching Practices in Higher Education." Innovations In Education & Teaching International 49.2 (2012): 173-182.
  9. 9. LESSONS LEARNED (SEE HANDOUT) •  Senior staff need to support an innovation for it to spread effectively •  Innovation is time consuming and takes time to embed •  Staff and students must be adequately skilled to engage with the innovative practice •  Innovations that sit well within a specific context spread better •  Supportive networks can facilitate the diffusion of innovative practices •  Institutional infrastructure needs to be in place to support the innovation (Smith 174-178) Smith, Karen. "Lessons Learnt from Literature on the Diffusion of Innovative Learning and Teaching Practices in Higher Education." Innovations In Education & Teaching International 49.2 (2012): 173-182.
  10. 10. TOP 10 DISSEMINATION MISTAKES (SEE HANDOUT) •  We assume that evidence matters in the decision making of potential adopters. Innovations of unknown effectiveness and of known ineffectiveness often spread while effective innovations do not. Evidence is most important to only a subset of early adopters and is most often used by them to reject innovations. Solution: Emphasize other variables in the communication of innovations such as compatibility, cost, and simplicity. •  We substitute our perceptions for those of potential adopters. Inadequate and poorly performed formative evaluation is common as experts in the innovation topical domain engage in dissemination. Solution: Seek out and listen to representative potential adopters to learn wants, information sources, advice-seeking behaviors, and reactions to prototype innovations. •  We use innovation creators as innovation communicators. While the creators of innovations are sometimes effective communicators, the opposite condition is much more common. Solution: Enable access to the experts, but rely on others whom we know will elicit attention and information-seeking by potential adopters. •  We introduce innovations before they are ready. innovations are often shown as they are created and tested. Viewers often perceive uncertainty and complexity as a result. Solution: Publicize innovations only after clear results and the preparation of messages that elicit positive reactions from potential adopters. •  We assume that information will influence decision making. Information is necessary and can be sufficient for adoption decisions about inconsequential innovations, but for consequential innovations that imply changes in organizational routines or individual behaviors, influence is typically required. Solution: Pair information resources with social influence in an overall dissemination strategy. (slightly adapted from 509) Dearing, James W. “Applying Diffusion of Innovation Theory to Intervention Development.” Research on Social Work Practice 19.5 (2009): 503-518. 22 Jan. 2014
  11. 11. TOP 10 DISSEMINATION MISTAKES (SEE HANDOUT) •  We confuse authority with influence. Persons high in positional or formal authority may also be regarded as influential by others, but often this is not the case. Solution: Gather data about who among potential adopters is sought out for advice and intervene with them to propel dissemination. •  We allow the first to adopt (innovators) to self-select into our dissemination efforts. The first to adopt often do so for counter-normative reasons and their low social status can become associated with an innovation. Solution: Learn the relational structure that ties together potential adopters so that influential members can be identified and recruited. •  We fail to distinguish among change agents, authority figures, opinion leaders, and innovation champions. It is unusual for the same persons to effectively play multiple roles in dissemination into and within communities and complex organizations. Solution: Use formative evaluation to determine the functions that different persons are able to fulfill. •  We select demonstration sites on criteria of motivation and capacity. Criteria of interest and ability make sense when effective implementation is the only objective. But spread relies on the perceptions by others of initial adopters. Solution: Consider which sites will positively influence other sites when selecting demonstration sites. •  We advocate single innovations as the solution to a problem. Potential adopters differ by clientele, setting, resources, etc., so one innovation is unlikely to fit all. Solution: Communicate a cluster of evidence-based practices so that potential adopters can get closer to a best fit of innovation to organization prior to adaptation. (slightly adapted from 509) Dearing, James W. “Applying Diffusion of Innovation Theory to Intervention Development.” Research on Social Work Practice 19.5 (2009): 503-518. 22 Jan. 2014
  12. 12. Source: https://secure.flickr.com/photos/hatm/5704123809
  13. 13. TO MOOC OR NOT TO MOOC “Given the ever-changing world of technology, how might the Innovation-Decision Process be streamlined for universities and individual faculty members in order to avoid overload?” (Kardasz 63) “What guidance can be provided to individual faculty or higher education administrators about how to think about whether and how to implement MOOCs in their organizations?” (Jona and Naidu, “Call for Papers: Special Issue”) Kardasz, Sara M. "What Are The Best Approaches For Encouraging the Diffusion of a New Instructional Technology Among Faculty Members in Higher Education? A Look at Eportfolio Use at Stony Brook University." Journal of Educational Technology Systems 42.1 (2013): 43-68. Jona, Kemi, and Som Naidu. “Call for Papers: Special Issue on Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs).” Distance Education. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. 2013. Web. 26 Jan. 2014.
  14. 14. Focus of decision-making criteria Slightly adapted from Rogers, Everett M. Diffusion of Innovations. 5th ed. New York: Free Press, 2003. Print.
  15. 15. Source: https://secure.flickr.com/photos/49889874@N05/5907238032
  16. 16. MOOC ATTRIBUTES Relative advantage Compatibility Complexity Trialability Observability Rogers, Everett M. Diffusion of Innovations. 5th ed. New York: Free Press, 2003. Print.
  17. 17. RELATIVE ADVANTAGE •  Definition: the degree to which the new idea is perceived to be an improvement over the idea it supersedes •  What would a MOOC be superceding at your institution? •  Typical dimensions: •  economic profitability •  social prestige Rogers, Everett M. Diffusion of Innovations. 5th ed. New York: Free Press, 2003. Print.
  18. 18. RELATIVE ADVANTAGE: ECONOMIC PROFITABILITY •  What resources would be needed to support MOOC adoption (including implementation and maintenance; think about partnering, design, selection, transferability, assessment, and accreditation) at our institution? •  What resources could be made available to support MOOC adoption? •  What additional resources could be sought to support MOOC adoption?
  19. 19. RELATIVE ADVANTAGE: ECONOMIC PROFITABILITY •  What would be the return on investment of these resources? •  What is the level of risk for this investment? •  Would there be a economic cost related to not participating in a MOOC (e.g., lost opportunity; lost potential enrollment, SCH; etc.)? •  Would the required resources change if MOOC participation was delayed?
  20. 20. RELATIVE ADVANTAGE: SOCIAL PRESTIGE •  What effect would MOOC participation have on the image of our institution as perceived by faculty? Staff? Students? Parents? Board members? Donors? Legislators? •  Would there be a social prestige cost related to not participating in a MOOC (e.g., perception of not keeping up)?
  21. 21. RELATIVE ADVANTAGE AND OVERADOPTION •  Occurs when an innovation is adopted even when experts would recommend not adopting. •  Why? •  Allowing attractiveness of one perceived attribute to overrule all other perceived attributes (e.g., allowing social prestige considerations to overshadow other considerations) •  Not enough knowledge about innovation •  Not able to predict consequences of adoption Rogers, Everett M. Diffusion of Innovations. 5th ed. New York: Free Press, 2003. Print.
  22. 22. COMPATIBILITY •  Definition: the degree to which the new idea is perceived to be consistent with potential adopters’ needs, past experiences, and existing values compatibility perceived uncertainty Rogers, Everett M. Diffusion of Innovations. 5th ed. New York: Free Press, 2003. Print.
  23. 23. COMPATIBILITY: VALUES AND BELIEFS •  What are stakeholders’ values and beliefs regarding the format of class instruction? Is online instruction viewed as inferior, equal, or superior to in-person instruction? •  What are the values and beliefs about professor and learner roles in the education process? •  To what degree would MOOC adoption be supported by or conflict with these values?
  24. 24. COMPATIBILITY: PAST EXPERIENCES •  What past experiences of the institution are related to MOOCs? (e.g., distance education, LMS, etc.) •  How are they similar? •  How are they different?
  25. 25. COMPATIBILITY: NEEDS •  Are there perceived needs regarding the format of instruction and learning? •  Does the format of instruction and learning need to change? •  What partnerships would be needed to successfully implement a MOOC at our institution?
  26. 26. COMPLEXITY •  Definition: the degree to which the new idea is perceived as relatively difficult to use and understand Rogers, Everett M. Diffusion of Innovations. 5th ed. New York: Free Press, 2003. Print.
  27. 27. COMPLEXITY: TECHNICAL •  What level of technical expertise is needed to successfully adopt a MOOC (e.g., learning how to use a new delivery system)? •  What level of technical expertise currently exists? •  If there is a gap, what would be needed to bridge the gap?
  28. 28. COMPLEXITY: PEDAGOGICAL •  What level of pedagogical expertise is needed to successfully adopt a MOOC (e.g., learning how to plan learning activities for the new delivery system)? •  What level of pedagogical expertise currently exists? •  If there is a gap, what would be needed to bridge it?
  29. 29. TRIALABILITY •  Definition: the degree to which the new idea can be experimented with on a restricted basis Rogers, Everett M. Diffusion of Innovations. 5th ed. New York: Free Press, 2003. Print.
  30. 30. TRIALABILITY •  Is it possible to try out a MOOC on a limited basis? In other words, could a pilot test be run? If yes, who would run the pilot test? •  Is there flexibility in the implementation of the MOOC? In other words, can MOOC adoption be customized to better fit the institution’s needs?
  31. 31. TRIALABILITY AND CHANGE •  Innovations are almost never a perfect match to an organization •  Successful innovations are often redefined, restructured, or reinvented to become a better fit (may or may not be possible or desirable at this stage) Rogers, Everett M. Diffusion of Innovations. 5th ed. New York: Free Press, 2003. Print.
  32. 32. Source: https://secure.flickr.com/photos/mathplourde/8620174342
  33. 33. OBSERVABILITY •  Definition: the degree to which the results of the new idea are visible by others Rogers, Everett M. Diffusion of Innovations. 5th ed. New York: Free Press, 2003. Print.
  34. 34. OBSERVABILITY •  What can we learn from other institutions’ use of MOOCs, especially institutions similar to ours? •  Consider both successful and unsuccessful adoptions •  May be easier to find success stories than failed stories Rogers, Everett M. Diffusion of Innovations. 5th ed. New York: Free Press, 2003. Print.
  35. 35. FACULTY INPUT IS CRITICAL •  Cannot be an afterthought—needs to be forefront in the conversation •  How to best seek this input? •  Depends on your institution’s culture •  Committee? •  Survey?
  36. 36. POSSIBLE SURVEY ITEMS AND RESPONSE CHOICES Learners participating in MOOCs can achieve the same learning outcomes as learners participating in face-to-face classes. a)  b)  c)  d)  e)  f)  strongly agree agree neutral disagree strongly disagree need more information before I can decide (please indicate what information is needed in “Comments/remarks” section) Comments/remarks
  37. 37. POSSIBLE SURVEY ITEMS AND RESPONSE CHOICES [My institution] should pilot a MOOC. a)  b)  c)  d)  e)  f)  strongly agree agree neutral disagree strongly disagree need more information before I can decide (please indicate what information is needed in “Comments/remarks” section) Comments/remarks
  38. 38. POSSIBLE SURVEY ITEMS AND RESPONSE CHOICES If MOOC development was an option, I would consider participating. a)  b)  c)  d)  e)  f)  strongly agree agree neutral disagree strongly disagree need more information before I can decide (please indicate what information is needed in “Comments/remarks” section) Comments/remarks
  39. 39. POSSIBLE SURVEY ITEMS AND RESPONSE CHOICES The following attributes would affect my choice of whether to participate (please check all that apply): a)  monetary compensation b)  counting as research/creative activity toward tenure and promotion c)  course release d)  time involved e)  level of training and support Comments/remarks
  40. 40. Source: https://secure.flickr.com/photos/hatm/5704123809
  41. 41. Source: https://secure.flickr.com/photos/aliciagriffin/2904408803
  42. 42. QUESTIONS? COMMENTS? SUGGESTIONS? Contact info: Email: mitzi.lewis@mwsu.edu or pamela.morgan@mwsu.edu Twitter: @mitzilewis
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