The thesis examines the social context in four edX MOOC forums. Interactions between forum core posters are examined through network analysis, qualitative content and thematic analyses. Thesis outcomes include a novel conceptualisation of the social context in MOOC forums and indicators to capture it. The social context in MOOCs is conceptualised at multiple levels: an emergent forum core community is situated within other interactions devoid of the same relational quality. Network indicators of reciprocity and co-occurrence, as well as the presence of social norm discussions capture the social context between forum core posters. The results suggest that cognitive and emotional learning outcomes enabled by the social context can be facilitated in MOOCs, but that the emergent social context is qualitatively different from formal education contexts.
Link to my PhD manuscript