Current Research‎ > ‎

Massive Open Online Courses and Higher Education: Where to Next? (Edited collection, abstracts due November 31 2014)

Call for PapersExtended until January 31st 2015


Massive Open Online Courses and Higher Education: Where to Next?

(Edited collection, abstracts due January 31 2015)

Edited by

Dr Rebecca Bennett, Murdoch University and

Dr Mike Kent, Curtin University


Since the first MOOC was launched at the University of Manitoba in 2008, this new form of the massification of higher education has been a rollercoaster ride for the university sector. Sebastian Thrun of the Udacity MOOC provider initially predicted that the disruptive influence of the MOOC would leave only 10 institutions providing Higher Education in fifty years’ time (Leckart 2012). However, just one year later, he abandoned the higher education space to focus on corporate training and admitted that his company’s MOOCs in higher education were often “lousy” (Schman 2013). Despite the shift in focus, MOOCs are still regarded by university leaders as having a disruptive influence on the sector. Whether this disruption benefits or harms higher education institutions is a complex and contested conversation, with multiple stakeholders and perspectives to consider.    

MOOCs have been criticized for their high rate of failure and their behaviorist pedagogical approach (Bates 2012), and others see these new models of education as a threat to the prevailing structure of universities (Grove 2013; Shirky 2013; Zhu 2012,). Indeed, some of the criticism leveled at these platforms seems aimed at online learning and teaching in general. More positive readings point to the high number of students who have completed units of study in these environments, despite the low pass rates (Daniel 2012). MOOCs have also been celebrated for their potential to provide access to higher education for a whole new range of participants and as an effective vehicle for the promotion of institutions, academics and courses; and the university experience, as a whole. 

This volume seeks to explore the future of the MOOC in higher education by examining what went right, what went wrong and where to now for the massification of higher education and online learning and teaching. We are looking for chapters that address these and other areas relating to the rise (and/or fall?) of MOOCs in higher education.

·         Case studies of past and/or present:

o   Failures and/or successes

o   Best and/or worst practice

o   Student perspectives

o   Academic perspectives

o   Business perspectives


·         Possibilities and pitfalls for the use of MOOCs in the future

o   Pedagogical implications

o   Practical applications

o   Economic consequences

o   Analytics

o   Data mining


·         Any other perspective - conceptual or empirical – that fits into the title theme.


Submission procedure:

Potential authors are invited to submit chapter abstract of no more than 500 words, including a title, 4 to 6 keywords, and a brief bio, by email to both Dr Mike Kent <> and Dr Rebecca Bennett <> by January 31 2015. (Please indicate in your proposal if you wish to use any visual material, and how you have or will gain copyright clearance for visual material.) Authors will receive a response by February 20, 2015, with those provisionally accepted due as chapters of no more than 6000 words (including references) by May 20 2015.

About the editors:

Dr Mike Kent is a lecturer in the Department of Internet Studies at Curtin University. Mike’s research interest is in higher education and particularly online education his edited collection (with Tama Leaver) An Education in Facebook was published by Routledge in 2014.  His other research focus is on people with disabilities and their use of, and access to, information technology and the Internet. He recently co-authored, with Katie Ellis, the monograph Disability and New Media (Routledge, 2011).


Dr Rebecca Bennett is a lecturer, academic language and literacy, in the Centre for University Teaching and Learning at Murdoch University. Her research in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning includes recent papers on digital pedagogies and intercultural communication at university. Her other research focuses on critical analysis of popular cultures. Her edited collection (with Angela Jones) The Digital Evolution of Live Music is currently in press (Chandos Publishing) and due for release in January 2015.