My MICM Thesis #6: Developing your research project MOOC (elearning in action)

Considering I am writing a thesis about elearning, it should come as no surprise that when I was getting stuck with understanding research methods, I turned to an elearning course.

The online course “Developing your research project” from the University of Southampton via FutureLearn was a fantastic help.  I had actually signed up for this course almost a year ago but didn’t end up actually taking it – until now.  I wish I’d done it earlier as it cleared up some of my confusion through simple, short video lessons and great resources.  The course is completely free if you sign up and take it on specified dates. (check the links for more).  Though designed as an 8 week course, I completed the bulk of it in around 5 hours on a Saturday.  As I was following the course some time after it had finished (though still had access to all the materials such as videos), it did mean there was limited interaction with other students.  After I finished, I discovered the exact same course was running again right now, and there I would have found much more interaction on the discussion board – but feel I’ve achieved what I needed from it.

This is an excellent example of a MOOC (massive open online course) and not only did the course itself help me gain a better foundation in planning my research for this thesis, but it also gave me lots to think about in terms of the way it was structured and delivered.

One thing I found is that they didn’t cover actual research methods.  I had hoped to get a better understand of this but as they explain, this differs per discipline so it’s back to the Saunders textbook for me: Research Methods for Business Students. 

Overall I’m finding that though I expected my Masters to be a huge project, it really is HUGE.  It often feels like a never-ending journey – though will have to end on 10 July on submission date!

At least by finding resources like this for when I get stuck, it helps me get over some hurdles so a big thanks to the MOOC for that – giving my very own example to support my research question of “How can elearning enhance study success at THUAS”.

A friend who I was in contact with recently told me about the term “Look Up Learning” – she has previously worked at the University of Auckland and in the field of HR, where elearning is used extensively.  I like that term, it captures the “Google it” mentality we have now and applies it to learning – where something becomes much more relevant and useful if you can find it at the right time.  I’ll have to think about this some more and whether I can incorporate it in my thesis.  Either way though, one thing I do like about research is that you tend to learn things that you didn’t expect.  It’s a challenge to stay “on scope” but you can shelf some ideas (either in your brain or a notebook!) for later use.


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