Northampton Electronic Collection of Theses and Research

MOOCs - mass marketing for a niche audience

Fitzgerald, R., Anderson, M. and Thompson, R. (2014) MOOCs - mass marketing for a niche audience. Paper presented to: 13th European Conference on e-Learning (ECEL-2014), Aalborg University, Copenhagen, Denmark, 30-31 October 2014. (Unpublished)

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Abstract: A range of issues have emerged through the design of a MOOC project known as “Gateway MBA”. Gateway aims to extend the MBA Programme at Northampton Business School and this MOOC has a number of intentions. Pedagogically it exists to give the student insight into the demands of postgraduate study while introducing a core area of an MBA, in this instance Critical Issues in Business. Evidence suggests that MOOCs are being used as a strategic tool to explore alternative models of course delivery (Allen & Seaman, 2013) and in this instance the MOOC aims to increase recruitment to the MBA internationally and to raise the profile of the university. While there are risks in this strategy, the Project Team see a potential to introduce and market the MBA to a global audience through open online learning, raising the university brand profile and expanding the elearning horizons of those involved in the project and beyond. This paper will consider recurring themes in the literature in the context of the design and delivery of Gateway MBA. Themes will include The concept of the Brand and the impact that it has on recruitment seen through the huge numbers recruited onto MOOCs supported by Harvard, Stanford and MIT. The disruptive potential and issues related to staffing tensions and role alterations. Relationships with traditional academic products and acceptability to external stakeholders such as employers and public perception. The defining philosophy of MOOCs - grounded in mass education, peer collaboration and diversity and subsequent pedagogical challenges in the areas of cheating, lawlessness and unmet leaner needs. It is clear that reconciling MOOC values and aims with educational quality and learner satisfaction standards is problematic so how do we develop and embed innovations in the areas of technology and academic cultural practices in order to meet this challenge. Finally we will consider the lifespan and delivery of the MOOC and consider accreditation of prior learning and certification to tackle the problem of completion rates that are generally unsatisfactory.
Uncontrolled Keywords: MOOC, open collaboration, peer collaboration, disruptive technologies
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management > HD30.4 Study and teaching. Research
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education > LB2395.7 Internet in higher education. Web-based instruction. Educational technology
Creators: Fitzgerald, Rachel, Anderson, Maggie and Thompson, Ross
Faculties, Divisions and Institutes: University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > Faculty of Business & Law > Business
Faculties > Faculty of Business & Law > International Strategy & Business
Date: 31 October 2014
Event Title: 13th European Conference on e-Learning (ECEL-2014)
Event Dates: 30-31 October 2014
Event Location: Aalborg University, Copenhagen, Denmark
Event Type: Conference
Language: English
Status: Unpublished
Refereed: Yes
Related URLs:
References: Allen, I. E., & Seaman, J. (2013). Changing course: Ten years of tracking online education in the United States. Babson Park, MA: Babson Survey Research Group and Quahog Research Group. Retrieved from

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