Study: Who Teaches MOOCs?

October 26, 2015

The average instructor of a massive open online course is most likely to be a white man in his 50s with two decades of experience in academe but none in online education, according to a study by researchers at Indiana University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Jessica G. Myrick, assistant professor in IU's Media School, and Suzannah Evans, a doctoral student at UNC-Chapel Hill, in spring and summer 2014 surveyed 707 instructors teaching on edX and Coursera, two leading MOOC platforms. The report appears in Distance Education.

Out of a total of 162 respondents, 64.2 percent said they were male, and 74.1 percent said they were white. About two-thirds of the respondents, or 67.3 percent, said the MOOC marked the first time they had taught an online course. At 35.8 percent, full professors made up the largest group, followed by associate professors (19.8 percent), senior lecturers (9.9 percent) and assistant professors (8.6 percent). Adjunct instructors only made up 4.3 percent of the respondents.

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