Supporting Teachers in the Design and Implementation of Group Formation Policies in MOOCs: A Case Study

Sanz-Martinez L., Er E., Dimitriadis Y., Martinez-Mones A., Bote-Lorenzo M. L.

JOURNAL OF UNIVERSAL COMPUTER SCIENCE, vol.24, no.8, pp.1110-1130, 2018 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 24 Issue: 8
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.1110-1130
  • Keywords: MOOCs, Group Learning Activities, Collaborative Learning, Teams
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: No


Collaborative learning strategies, which can promote student learning and achievement, have rarely been incorporated into pedagogies of MOOCs. Such strategies, when implemented properly, can boost the quality of MOOC pedagogy. Nonetheless, the use of collaborative groups in MOOCs is scarce due to several yet critical contextual factors (e.g., massiveness, and variable levels of engagement) that hamper the group formation process. Therefore, there is a need for supporting MOOC teachers in the design and implementation of group formation policies when implementing collaborative strategies. This paper presents a study where two instruments were used to explore solutions to this need: a guide to support teachers during the planning of the group formation, and a technological tool to help them implement the collaborative groups designed and to monitor them. According to the results of the study, the design guide made the teachers aware of the contextual factors to consider when forming the collaborative groups, and allowed teachers inform some configuration parameters of the activity (e.g., duration and assessment type) and the group formation (e.g., criteria and parameters needed to build the groups). The technological tool was successfully incorporated into the MOOC platform. Lessons learned from the findings of the study are shared and their potential to inform the design guide is discussed.