The Characteristics of Successful MOOCs in the Fields of Software, Science, and Management, According to Students' Perception

Simona Holstein, Anat Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The characteristics of successful MOOCs were explored in this study. Thousands of student reviews regarding five xMOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) in the fields of software, science, and management were extracted from the Coursetalk website and analyzed by quantitative and qualitative methods using the Garrison, Anderson, and Archer (2000) Community of Inquiry (CoI) model. The 14 characteristics found to contribute to the success of MOOCs (e.g., teacher, atmosphere, exercise) were partitioned into the teaching, social, and cognitive presence elements. In addition, cluster analysis revealed five types of learners, based on the characteristics they mentioned for course success: atmosphere, exercise, teacher, exam, and unspecified. This divides learners into groups that may prefer social, cognitive, or teaching presence. The findings of this study negate the perception that xMOOCs mostly contain teaching presence elements. This research contributes to the understanding of characteristics that contribute to successful MOOCs and sheds light on the students, too. Listening to the voices of the students and the types of characteristics that they chose to mention, enables further exploration of their preferences and expectations regarding MOOCs and, accordingly, to future adaptation between students' preferences and MOOC characteristics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-266
Number of pages20
JournalInterdisciplinary Journal of E-Skills and Lifelong Learning
StatePublished - 2016


  • Administration
  • Cognitive Style
  • Communities of Practice
  • Computer Science Education
  • Computer Software
  • Course Evaluation
  • ERIC, Current Index to Journals in Education (CIJE)
  • Expectation
  • Instructional Effectiveness
  • Large Group Instruction
  • Lifelong Learning
  • Misconceptions
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Online Courses
  • Preferences
  • Qualitative Research
  • Science Education
  • Statistical Analysis
  • Student Attitudes
  • Teacher Role
  • Web Sites


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