Fini, A. (2009). The technological dimension of a massive open online course: The case of the CCK08 course tools. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 10(5). Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/643/1402
Survey with 83 respondents
“The situation regarding technological skills was very similar (N = 83): 24 were experts/ICT professionals, 41 were power users, 18 were normal users, and no one self-identified as a beginner.” – so, no novice respondents.
“OOCs claim to be open; nonetheless, there are at least two barriers to access. Participants are required to have some basic competencies, specifically ICT skills and a good level of English proficiency.” A pretty much universal point made in all studies. Consistently Connectivist commentators suggest this is an issue. McAuley and Kop make the same assertions. Differing commentators however respond differently to the same observation. Some state this is an implicit assumption, or condition, and leave it at that, and some respond by calling for scaffolding (eg Kop).
” formal students committed to completing assignments more than informal students did.”
13 students attended the course for credit. This, again, is backed up in other papers – those formally assessed engaged more than those who didn;t (by a factor of between 7 and 9 in percentage terms). The paper theorises multiple possibilities here, and points to time as the most significant factor on the part of informal students. It argues that informal students may not be interested in formal structures, or only want an overview, but provides no evidence to support these possibilitites.
Ultimately, this is something of a problem for Connectivist MOOC literature. There is little empirical engagement with barriers to participation, and the possibility that it may be a large, and solveable issue remains significantly uninvestigated.
The primary motivation listed (47 of 83) was professional development.