Assignment 3 was completed this weekend, a few days before it was actually due (thank you to Lisa for the peer review!). It's a small assignment describing the conceptual frameworks that we are going to use for researching a specific research question. My question comes back to Learner Motivation in MOOCs - something that I think I started thinking about in 2011 after MobiMOOC. With the proliferation of MOOC "types", xMOOC, cMOOC, pMOOC, rMOOC, and whatever else exists these days it makes sense to focus on learner motivation in cMOOCs specifically. It seems that the smaller volumes of learners in cMOOCs, and the seemingly higher proportion of spontaneous "original" contributions make it an interesting environment to study motivation in.
When I approached this topic for Assignment 1 it was one of several topics I was spit-balling this as one potential topic. However, as I am entering Assignment 4 (the 6000-9000 world final paper that could be a draft of my methods section for dissertation), I am seriously considering the topic of Learner Motivation in cMOOCs as a dissertation topic. I think that I can get through a substantial amount of the research literature (and general punditry) on MOOCs that I have piling in my drawer over the summer break, and start thinking about motivation in learning as something to research next summer.
The big question is this: build my own MOOC to gather data? Or hop on to another person's cMOOC and ride that wave as a participant-researcher? The Participant-Researcher role does appeal to me because it feels less sterile than sitting back and observing what's happening in a MOOC. That said, I can think of potentials for conflicting priorities, and other biases emerging from such a role. Well, I guess I will cross that bridge when I get to it. I wonder if I can hammer out a draft proposal for the Introduction (or Methods) chapter over the summer...
To some extent I feel like the doctoral process is not conducive to this pre-work approach. In 3 semesters time I will formally take the course in which one deliverable is to develop a proposal, and it is this proposal that will either get me, or not get me, into candidacy. Can I work on this proposal before I reach the course? Is it wise to work on it before the course? And if I do, and things look good, how does that impact my own learning experiences in that course? Any thoughts about this from people who've completed their PhD or EdD?
|Obligatory graphic for Assignment 3 - A mind map of my current thoughts|