Five Outstanding Term Paper Samples – Homework 5 Solution

Term Paper Sample 1

The Rise of Digital Marketing

Aisha McCormick

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1 December 2014


This paper ( Term Paper Sample) discusses the breakthrough success of digital marketing in recent years. It will touch on areas such as how it originated, how it has progressed, and the several advantages it provides to advertisers. Specific emphasis will be placed on the campaigns of Gatorade, Coca-Cola, Dunkin Donuts and Free People.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Progression
  3. Advantages
  4. Campaigns in the Spotlight
  5. Conclusion
  6. References


Digital marketing is the promotion of a product or a brand through one or more forms of electronic media. Some of these forms might include websites, social media, mobile apps, television, radio, and electronic billboards. Digital marketing has become nothing short of a phenomenon in the world of advertising. It has allowed companies and organizations the ability to communicate back-and-forth with consumers by giving them the opportunity to directly participate in the campaigns and provide immediate feedback.

Today’s consumers want to be involved in their purchases. Digital technology now allows companies to track their customers’ interests and purchase behaviors, as well as increase the ability to reach potential buyers. It has completely transformed the art of advertising, providing companies with more opportunities to be effective than ever before.


There are several objectives involved in the development of new online media. It is used to create awareness, generate interest, disseminate information, create an image and a brand, and eventually break through the clutter and create a buzz in the world of advertising (Belch and Belch 498).

Digital marketing originated in the form of simple websites, also referred to as Web 1.0, and has evolved into a variety of advertising forms, now called Web 2.0. While websites mostly provide only for one-way communication, newer digital media allows for two-way interactivity. Companies can create mobile apps, implement contests and conversations through social media, and post on blogs (Belch and Belch 499).


Digital marketing provides companies with several advantages that traditional marketing cannot. For example, it allows them to perform behavioral targeting by tracking the website surfing behaviors of consumers (Belch and Belch 512).

Many times this can be done through the use of HTTP cookies. These are small pieces of data that track the activity of Internet users. Cookies have the ability to remember information such as items viewed and shopping carts on a retail website. Companies are able to get to know the habits of their consumers and create potential buyers by exposing them to ads that might attract them based on this Internet history (Zakas).

Access to this information allows companies to then tailor their messages to the specific needs of different consumers. Because they are exposed to information that defines the wants of individuals, companies are able to adjust their message to each target market that they identify (Belch and Belch 512).

In order to measure the effectiveness of behavioral targeting, advertisers are able to calculate click-through rates. Click-through rates represent the number of clicks an ad gets divided by the number of times the ad is shown. The higher the rate, the more effective your ad is. This can assist advertisers in choosing successful keywords to increase exposure to the product message (Clickthrough Rate (CTR)).

Finally, consumers in today’s marketplace thrive on engagement and interactivity. Web 2.0 gives customers the chance to become involved in advertising campaigns and create relationships that feel personal. Consumers enjoy interacting with others and feeling as though they are contributing, which is something they are not able to do with traditional one-way advertising. They then associate positive feelings with the products being advertised, increasing the chances of them making a purchase.

Campaigns in the Spotlight

Some of the most recent digital marketing successes include campaigns from Coca-Cola, Gatorade, Dunkin Donuts, and Free People.

Gatorade has utilized Twitter to involve consumers and influence them towards their products. Gatorade uses the hash-tag #WinFromWithin to bring their market together in online discussion, and even posts the tweets that mention their handle @Gatorade directly on their website. There is a current online contest that allows consumers to create their own personalized Gatorade bottle that they can then submit to win a sweepstakes (Show How You #WINFROMWITHIN on Your Own Digital Gatorade Bottle).

Similarly, Coca-Cola’s Coke Zero is using #CountdownToZero to promote their product to college football lovers. The campaign is aimed towards fans anxiously waiting for the arrival of game day each Saturday. Coke posts the question “How do you countdown to zero?” implying that ‘zero’ means it is finally game day. The consumers are then told to post a picture of them in their game day apparel using the hash-tag, and it will later appear on the company’s website. This directly involves consumers in the campaign and creates a positive attitude and predisposition between them and the product, therefore influencing them to purchase it (Coke Zero Countdowntozero).

Dunkin Donuts has implemented their own mobile app that allows customers to access weekly coupons and rewards, send gifts, and locate nearby stores. The most convenient aspect of the app is that it also gives customers the option to make mobile payments. They are able to transfer the value of an existing Dunkin Donuts card or set up a new account on their phone. This provides a convenient, interactive way to involve consumers. Their personalized account allows them to feel like they have their own relationship with the company, therefore increasing their interactions and purchases (Dunkin Donuts gets into the Moblie Payment Game).

Free People, a bohemian clothing store that is part of the URBN company, has a blog titled BLDG 23 that posts about fashion, travel, music, food, and décor to inspire and connect with their target market. In addition to the blog, Free People has an online fashion community titled FP ME that allows consumers to create personal accounts and post pictures of their latest fashion trends. It allows them to “favorite” and comment on other users’ photos to build a network of fashion-savvy customers. It is this type of innovative technique that brings digital marketing to a new level of success (Free People Blog – a Place for Fine Ideas from the Folks at Free People).


Adapting to new technology has become inevitable for companies to succeed in today’s marketplace. It provides companies the chance to advance creatively and segment their target markets more effectively than traditional advertising. The digital marketplace is rising rapidly and will continue to do so, with an increasing amount of companies transitioning to these successful interactive campaigns.


Belch, George E., and Michael A. Belch. “The Internet and Interactive Media.” Advertising and Promotion: An Integrated Marketing Communications Perspective. New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin, 2012. 493-515. Print.

“Clickthrough Rate (CTR).” – AdWords Help. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Nov. 2014.

“Coke Zero Countdowntozero.” My Coke Rewards. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2014.

“Dunkin Donuts Gets into the Mobile Payment Game.” Gigaom. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2014.

“Free People Blog – a Place for Fine Ideas from the Folks at Free People.” Free People Blog RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2014.

“Show How You #WINFROMWITHIN on Your Own Digital Gatorade Bottle.” #WINFROMWITHIN. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2014

Zakas, Nicholas C. “NCZOnline.” HTTP Cookies Explained. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2014.

Term Paper Sample 2

The Effectiveness of Internet Usage and Technology in the Classroom: Is It Enhancing or Hindering Students’ Learning?


Allie Modica

November 19, 2014

Abstract: This paper discusses the growing use of the Internet and technology within classrooms today as a method of enhancing learning and enriching curricula for students.  It will examine both the benefits and the problems that are associated with making use of the Internet in classrooms.  Finally, this paper will suggest a course of action that can be taken to use the Internet and technology most effectively.  By following this plan of action, the benefits of Internet use in classrooms will be maximized while negative effects will be minimized.

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction
  • Benefits of Internet usage
  • Problems with Internet usage
  • Plan of Action
  • Conclusion
  • References


Since the introduction of the World Wide Web in 1991, the ways in which humans interact with one another have changed drastically.  The Internet has shaped several aspects of our society, from creating instantaneous access to information to increasing our ability to communicate with others on a global scale (“The Invention of the Internet”).  As a result of the massive expansion in the market for personal devices that support Internet access, the amount of people who rely on the Internet daily has grown significantly.  And, few demographic groups rely on the Internet as much as children.  Technology has begun to play a large role in the lives of children, which has translated into the utilization of technology as more than a means for entertainment.  In the past decade, the Internet has begun to infiltrate its way into classrooms for many different purposes.  While there are many advocates for technology integration in today’s classrooms, there are also several who argue that the educational value of the Internet has not yet been proven.  Most districts that have the funding to supply their schools with technological devices such as Smart Boards, Chromebooks, and Elmo’s are fully “on board” with the increasing employment of these tools.  However, few have stopped to truly evaluate the effectiveness of these technologies and whether or not they are being used in an appropriate manner.

Benefits of Internet Usage:

The infinite amount of information students have at their fingertips as a result of the Internet is undeniable.  With effective Internet access, the possibilities are simply endless.  The potential benefits that are associated with the use of the Internet and technology are numerous and significant.  One of the major benefits to using technology in the classroom is that it has the potential to keep students on task for a longer period of time (Huneycutt, 2013).  Using computers and online databases can save students time when they are carrying out research, and the use of technology can often help to maintain their focus more than using books and paper materials (Huneycutt, 2013).  The excitement of using the computer for research can spark students’ interest in a topic that may otherwise be somewhat dry.  In addition to research, there are many resources via the Internet that can make dull lessons much more interactive through virtual programs and video streaming (Huneycutt, 2013).  There is always an abundance of online content that teachers can utilize to make their mundane lessons much more engaging.

Another undeniable benefit of integrating technology and the Internet into the classroom environment is the individualized nature of the learning pace.  As opposed to whole-class instruction, students have the ability to take in information at their own pace and can be more independent and self-directed through the use of technology (Ankenman, 2008).  Additionally, teachers have the ability, with some computer programs, to track student progress and can then adjust the curriculum accordingly.  Another great benefit that goes along with this is the potential for parental involvement in their students’ success (Ankenman, 2008).  Through the use of computers, parents can monitor and assist with homework and can help hold their children accountable for their work.  At the middle and high school levels, a parent “portal” can help create more open communication between teachers and parents, which can hopefully translate to increased student success (Ankenman, 2008).

One of the biggest benefits to using the Internet and technology in education today reaches outside just the walls of the classroom.  By becoming accustomed to different applications in technology, students are developing fundamental skills that are indispensable in today’s workplace (Huneycutt, 2013).  Twenty-first century education is moving farther away from memorizing and compartmentalizing facts and numbers.  In turn, the ways in which we learn material must adapt to fit the ever-changing world of education.  Using technology and the Internet in classrooms can contribute to elements that are important in education today such as: developing communication skills, collaborating with other individuals, productivity and efficiency, and complex problem solving (Huneycutt, 2013).  By giving students more opportunities to interact with technology and utilize what the Internet has to offer, they will be far more prepared in the future.  The potential benefits that accompany the use of technology and the Internet are undeniably advantageous and valuable.

Problems with Internet Usage:

            Although there are many illustrious examples to support the use of the Internet and technology devices in the classroom, there are also many critical arguments about why their uses should be minimized.  One man who is a strong advocate against the use of technology is Todd Oppenheimer, the author of the book The Flickering Mind: The False Promise of Technology in the Classroom and How Learning Can be Saved.  Throughout his work, Oppenheimer argues that the generation of children today is wavering between two possible routes (Oppenheimer, 2003).  If they take one route, young students will have the ability to be confident experts on the technology tools of their day; as a result, they will be able to use these skills to better attend to the problems they face.  On the other hand, students can fall victim to the narrow measures of ability that technology implies; they will lose sight of the “ability to reason, to listen, to feel empathy, among many other things” (Oppenheimer, 2003).  Oppenheimer also argues that when districts choose to computerize a science class or even shut down programs such as music or art in order to pay for new technology, they begin to lose sight of “the fundamentals of learning” (Oppenheimer, 2003).  While technology can be used in beneficial ways, it should not take the place of other important aspects of a well-rounded education.

There are several other critical perspectives offered in regards to the detriments of technology and Internet use in education.  It is a valid concern that in schools’ efforts to increase their amount of technology integration, that they divert money in their budget away from potentially more valuable purposes, like textbooks or classroom supplies for example.  It is has not truly yet been proven that the educational value of the Internet is so great that it should be taking the place of more typical teaching styles (“Why The Net?”, 2004).

With regards to Internet usage in schools, some critics complain that there is a possibility of students accessing inappropriate or off-topic information via the Internet, such as online gaming or pornography (“Why The Net?”, 2004).  Although most districts have some sort of filtering system installed on school computers to restrict inappropriate web pages, they are not necessarily flawless; some may even block sites that are useful while others allow sites that are potentially destructive.  The use of the Internet in classrooms where students have individual access to computers may prove to be distracting for students if they are not fully on-task.

Lastly, one major reason that the increased use of the Internet and technology in education could be detrimental to students is the increase of cheating and plagiarism.  In the book Student Cheating and Plagiarism in the Internet Era: A Wake-up Call, by Ann Lathrop and Kathleen Foss, the authors analyze and discuss how the increased access to the Internet has been accompanied by a boost in the amount of plagiarism among students.  Their book goes on to suggest ways to combat this issue and how to make it more difficult for students to cheat (Lathrop, 2000).  When teachers make assignments computerized, which allows students to collaborate when they should be working independently, it makes it much more difficult to monitor their work and determine whose products are original thoughts.  These are just a few of the reasons that critics have cited regarding why districts should take a closer look at how much money they put into their budgets to increase technology integration.

Plan of Action:

            It is simply not sensible to think that any schools that have the ability to provide technology to their students will cut it out completely any time soon.  With technology growing more and more advanced every year, it would be unreasonable to expect schools to bring the use of the Internet and technology integration to an end.  However, while technology can be a supplement to make lessons more engaging and attractive to students, it should not be used instead of regular instruction.  In other words, students should still be learning how to research using books and paper resources; they should still understand how to find books using a call number, instead of always relying on Wikipedia and Google searches.

Acquiring the skills associated with technological devices and Internet research are certainly essential skills for today’s generations.  These lessons can be intertwined with other lessons so that they are still being used for educational reasons and these privileges are not taken advantage of.  If teachers strike the proper balance with the use of technology, then it can be used effectively to increase students’ computer skills and can also help with efficiency of tasks.  Additionally, the use of computers in schools can help students who need to work at different paces and helps to instill a sense of accountability in each student; students won’t be able to rely on the students in their group to help them out on everything.  Overall, the use of technology should not overwhelm the school day to the point where it is distracting and takes away from the actual education of the students.


The ways in which the Internet and technology have shaped our society today are immense and cannot be ignored.  There are clear benefits to the use of technology integration that are evident and indisputable.  While not everyone agrees that there should be a focus on technology in schools, the advantages are typically irrefutable.  If the Internet and technology is used effectively, it can have immeasurably positive effects on students and their education.  With the amount of interaction that kids have with technology today, it is a helpful connection to use technology in classrooms as well.  As long as the technology is monitored and is used in moderation, it can be used in endless, creative and newly innovative ways to help students grow as curious learners!


Ankenman, Sandy. “The Impact of Education Technology on the Future of Individualized Learning.” The Journal. N.p., 11 Sept. 2008. Web. 29 Oct. 2014

Huneycutt, Timothy.  “Technology in the Classroom: The Benefits of Blended Learning.” National Math + Science Initiative. N.p., 08 Oct. 2013. Web. 27 Nov. 2014.

Lathrop, Ann, and Kathleen Foss. Student Cheating and Plagiarism in the Internet Era: A Wake-up Call. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited, 2000. Print.

Oppenheimer, Todd. The Flickering Mind: The False Promise of Technology in the Classroom, and How Learning Can Be Saved. New York: Random House, 2003. Print.

“The Invention of the Internet.” A&E Television Networks, 2010. Web. 30 Nov. 2014.

“Why the Net? An Interactive Tool for the Classroom: Explanation.” Concept to Classroom. Thirteen Ed Online, 2004. Web. 01 Dec. 2014.

Term Paper Sample 3

Technology And Learning Styles

Allison Winters


Dr. Fred Hofstetter

December 7, 2015


The purpose of this paper is to discuss various learning styles, and the controversy and benefits of deciphering a personal dominant style. In the modern day classroom technology is becoming increasingly prevalent, but many question whether this is beneficial to students and their various learning styles, or whether it is more of a hindrance or distraction. This paper will examine the benefits and downsides to utilizing technology in order to reach a variety of learners, and the versatile tactics teachers must employ to ensure its effectiveness.
Table Of Contents

  1. Introduction To Learning Styles
  2. Benefits To Determining Learning Styles
  3. Technology In The Classroom
  4. Positives Of Technology
  5. Negatives Of Technology
  6. The Link Between Technology and Learning Styles In The Classroom
  7. Conclusion
  8. References

Introduction To Learning Styles

The concept of learning styles became increasingly attractive throughout the 1970s and 1980s. However, there was some doubt surrounding the effectiveness of learning styles on the retention of information. One of the most prevalent models of learning styles is the VARK model, created by Neil Fleming, which categorizes learners’ preferences into four categories (para 1). Despite the distrust in the theory of learning styles, author Kendra Cherry states that most students do in fact find themselves drawn to a particular type (para 10). In some cases students may utilize more than one tactic, which is referred to as a multimodal style (para 12).

The first letter of the pneumonic is “V” representing visual learners. These students learn best through seeing, rather than viewing text. These types of learners benefit from illustrations, charts, diagrams, and videos (para 5).

The succeeding letter “A” represents aural learners, also known as auditory learners. Aural learners prefer lecture style classrooms, as they are great at remembering things they hear (para 6).

The letter “R” symbolizes the third of the learning styles, or the reading and writing learners. They will succeed best with text, or when concepts are expressed as words (para 7).

Lastly, the Kinesthetic or tactile learners benefit from hands on approaches. Students who do it, or touch it themselves, learn better in this style (para 8). Now that the VARK model has been addressed and explained, the next section of this paper will discuss the benefits one may acquire by determining their dominant learning style.

Benefits To Determining Learning Styles

Learning styles are defined as, “common ways that people learn.” As stated previously, people may utilize more than one tactic however, are usually drawn to one approach over the others. Utilizing brain imaging, research has proven that different parts of the brain are activated in association with each learning style. The article explains that the more a student engages their brain, the more they will learn (Overview of Learning Styles).

It is important to recognize that there is much controversy surrounding the concept of learning styles. Some may argue that measurement of learning styles is questionable, and others feel that isolating or exploiting a dominant learning strategy acts as a disadvantage to students. However, author Kendra Cherry makes an interesting and crucial point. Even if one does not believe learning styles have a direct impact on learning, at the very least, it may increase memorization and make studying easier and more pleasurable (para 11).

It is up to the student to decipher whether a particular style suits them better than another, and it is also their decision whether or not to employ it. In the case that students find certain techniques help them learn better, increasing technology is making it easier than ever for teachers to address diverse styles in their lessons.

Technology In The Classroom

Multimedia technology refers to the use of “multi” or many technologies in the classroom. According to author Euline Schmid, “multimedia environments include online instructional presentations, interactive lessons, e-courses, simulation games, virtual reality, and computer-supported in-class presentations,” (1553). There is some confusion on whether the integration of so many new technologies is seen as advantageous or as a distraction, and there are supportive facts for each perspective. The next sections of this paper will discuss the positives and negatives of multimedia technology, and how to effectively integrate it in the classroom so it can cater to all learning styles.

Positives Of Technology

Perhaps one of the largest benefits of technology in the classroom is its convenience. With the click of a mouse the same information and concepts can be displayed in multiple ways. Whether it be an interactive website, a PowerPoint, a video, or audio file, teachers can seamlessly transition from one representation to the next. The article points out that with this convenience, paces of classes are much smoother because material can be prepared ahead of time, and pulled up in an instant (Schmid 1554).

In a study of students who were taught using multiple technologies including websites and interactive whiteboards 63.2% of students strongly agreed that the integration of the whiteboard helped them comprehend the lesson better and 36.8% agreed (1560).

When a student was asked why they felt the technology helped their learning, their response was that technology simply made it more interesting. The student refers to traditional tactics, such as paper handouts or teacher’s experience as boring. The student explains that since the presentation of the material is viewed as more complex and interesting, it motivates students to pay closer attention and be more engaged (1558).

Modern day technology allows students to highlight and store information they wish to return to. Digital textbooks allow students to view and hear words at the same time, and lectures can also be recorded and viewed at another time. Lastly, interactive websites are able to give students hands on learning experiences they may never have had before (Hobgood). However, the complexity of technology also causes struggles for students, as well as the teachers that use it. Technology is still hard for many to understand, which creates challenges when operating it.

Negatives Of Technology

Although technology makes it easier than ever to present information in multiple ways, easy access can lead to students slacking off. One teacher even said she felt like she, “spoon fed them through the overuse of these electronic resources,” and that it took away from time for questions, or for students to explain concepts to the class (Schmid 1563). Since the pace of classes can drastically be increased because of how readily available resources are, this can decrease participation and negatively affect students (1565).

Another area of concern is referred to as cognitive overload. As a result of multiple representations, students may not understand some depictions, or be overwhelmed by the various methods. It is important to recognize that teachers must evaluate the quantity of representations presented, and that students must actively participate in lessons to maximize effectiveness and decrease cognitive overload (1556).

The Link Between Technology and Learning Styles In The Classroom

            With the incorporation of technology in the classroom still relatively new, many teachers are still fixated on traditional classroom teaching strategies. These strategies include long lectures that rely heavily on the textbook, followed up by an exam that may be the only assessment of comprehension and retention. Although this is the norm for how a class is conducted, it gives students who prefer this learning style an advantage (Overview of Learning Styles para 3).

In Rochester, Minnesota teacher of the month Christine Hong is 26 (para 2, para 3). Hong strives to cater to each student’s learning style, to make all her students comfortable in her classroom (para 4). In 2013, her high school, Pine Island High School, adopted a program that gave each student a Lenovo Notebook, which enabled them to use online demonstrations, games, and activities. Students handed in and stored their assignments online (para 7).

            When regarding the use of technology in the classroom, Hong saw the new possibilities and opportunities, but also saw the potential for danger. “”There are a lot of areas to enhance learning,” she said. “Part of it can be a little distracting and so it’s finding the balance between the enhancement of learning and it not being a tool of distraction. It’s a matter of finding that sweet spot. Where does it really help the kids,” (Stolle para 10).

It is the teacher’s duty to use technology in a responsible and educational manor in the classroom. Technology can aid in utilizing different representations of content to cater to all learning styles as well as finding different content to teach the same subject (para 3). For example, digital textbooks that include pictures and have the ability for text to be read aloud can cater to both visual and auditory learners (para 38). However virtual tutorials and class polls conducted using iclickers can be used to teach the same content to kinesthetic learners for a more hands on experience (para 21). Teachers can still lecture, or have students write or read the material to cater to reading and writing learners.

With all the capabilities of technology it is evident that it will continue to make its way into classrooms all over the world (Kothaneth, Robinson, Amelink 60). It is vital that teachers implement this technology in an appropriate way.

“Because numerous studies have shown a positive correlation between student engagement, appropriate academic activities, and high achievement, differentiating by product often translates to improved student achievement. (Hobgood para 58).


            Every individual develops preferences in life, including preferences in how they like to learn. Although preferences may overlap, usually one takes precedence. By recognizing one’s likings, individuals can utilize them to make learning easier and more enjoyable. Inside the classroom, technology can be useful in presenting content in various ways to appeal to diverse learners. With the capabilities of technology this differentiation is easier than ever, however must be carefully utilized to avoid confusion, laziness, and overwhelming feelings. As technology becomes more prevalent in the world, it is expected it will also become more prevalent in the educational system. It is up to the teacher to ensure technology is used wisely so the benefits of technology translate to the success of their students.



Cherry, Kendra. “VARK Learning Styles.” Education. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2015.

Hobgood, Bobby, and Lauren Ormsby. “7 Inclusion in the 21st-century Classroom: Differentiating with Technology.” Inclusion in the 21st-century Classroom:  Differentiating with Technology. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2015.

Kothaneth, Shreya, Ashley Robinson, and Katherine Amelink, Dr. “Tablet PC Support of Students’ Learning Styles.” Systemics, Cybernetics And Informatics 10.6 (2012): n. pag. Web.

“Overview of Learning Styles.” Overview of Learning Styles., 2004. Web. 16 Nov. 2015 <>.

Schmid, Euline Cutrim. “Potential Pedagogical Benefits and Drawbacks of Multimedia Use in the English Language Classroom Equipped with Interactive Whiteboard Technology.” Computers & Education. 4th ed. Vol. 51. N.p.: Elsevier B.V., 2008. 1553-568. Web. 16 Nov. 2015.

Stolle, Matthew. “Teacher of the Month: Hong adapts to students’ learning styles.” Post-Bulletin (Rochester, Minnesota). (May 31, 2014 Saturday ): 546 words. LexisNexis Academic. Web. Date Accessed: 2015/11/09.

Term Paper Sample 4

Amanda Warren

December 7, 2015


Final Paper


Social Media, “Likes”, and their Affects on Individuals

It is 2015 and social media has quite literally taken over the world. At the tips of our fingers we hold access to not only unlimited amounts of information, but unlimited connections with other human beings. With the rise of social media and new technology comes incredibly positive societal changes, like the ability for citizens of Africa to hear about what is happening to citizens of Japan within moments and at the touch of a button. This unprecedented level of connectedness via social media is an amazing development, but with it comes new, potentially harmful advances, the most notable of which is the concept of a “like”. Be it Facebook’s “like”, Instagram’s “heart”, or Twitter’s “favorite”, almost every form of relevant social media provides a way for one user to validate another with the click of a button. On the other hand, it also provides a way for one user to invalidate another by choosing not to click said button. Born of social media’s inherently “social” nature, the development of the concept of a “like” as an interaction between two people has drastically changed the way individuals view themselves and each other.

Because “likes” are a relatively new development, and because they are intangible and thus a bit ambiguous, it is hard to define what a “like” is and what its implications are. Facebook defines a “like” quite simply by saying, “clicking ‘like’ below a post on Facebook is an easy way to let people know you enjoy it without leaving a comment” (Facebook). Many experts argue that the concept of a “like” is in fact much more complex than an easy means by which to convey enjoyment. In fact, “likes” have developed into a way for people to seek and express approval more so than enjoyment. In a study conducted with college students in Chicago, those who admitted to using social media sites on a daily basis agreed that “likes” are very highly valued, explaining that a high number of likes is used as a “tool of verification or acceptance within their group of peers” (Tolly). Many also explained that if a tweet, picture, or status did not receive what they considered to be enough likes, they would remove it. Many have begun to notice a direct correlation between number of likes and self-esteem. One college student explained, “I feel if people post selfies where they’re all dressed up and don’t get any likes, it makes them feel unattractive. The more likes someone gets, the higher their self-esteem is, because they feel liked by other people” (Perez). It is not new information that an individual’s self-esteem is often determined, or at least influenced, by the way others feel about them. What is new about this idea, though, is that social media users understand a “like” as an expression of how someone feels about them. What may seem like a simple click carries much more weight; each “like” or “non-like” is perceived as a statement of opinion, a validation or invalidation. This phenomenon has led to a more detailed study of social media and its potential effects on users.

To further understand the true meaning of this new way of expressing approval or enjoyment, researchers have begun studying what can basically be understood as the psychology of likes. What does a like really mean, and why does it matter? First of all, scientists have found a correlation between brain activity and the release of oxytocin and dopamine with social media “likes”. Dopamine, which is labeled by scientists a pleasure chemical in the brain, creates feelings of desire, want, and pleasure. “Dopamine is stimulated by unpredictability, by small bits of information, by reward cues – pretty much the exact conditions of social media” (Seiter, 2015). These “reward cues” are what society knows as “likes”- a so called reward for posting something that others deem appropriate, and they have a very real affect on the brain. Chicago University’s Booth Business School gathered research on the issue, and concluded that people quite literally crave social media. In fact, data suggests that tweeting may be harder to resist than drugs and alcohol (Meikle, 2015). Similarly, oxytocin, known as the “cuddle chemical” by many, is the chemical released in the body and brain when you kiss or hug someone. The release of this chemical leads to feelings of calmness, trust, and lowered stress levels. A study of social media users found that this chemical is released when posting on social media. In just ten minutes of social media use, it was found that oxytocin release levels increased by as much as 13%. To put that in perspective, this is equivalent to the oxytocin release levels measured in people on their wedding day (Seiter, 2015). Because human beings naturally crave stress reduction and feelings of calmness, trust, and love, it makes sense that the release of these hormones are what contributes to the addictiveness of social media use and the endless pursuit of “likes” and external validation. This research may help us to understand why people post in the first place, and why they rely so heavily on the confirmation that comes with each “like” they receive; this phenomena can be explained by science.

Perhaps people are having a hard time controlling their social media use, and maybe when they do use social media they care quite a lot about “likes”, but is that a bad thing? Many scientists, researchers, and social media users alike would argue yes. In a study conducted by Rutgers University School of Communication and Information, it was concluded that the average human spends 30-40% of their time speaking talking about themselves during a face-to-face conversation. This number doubles to an alarming 80% when posting online, meaning 80% of the time that someone posts on social media, it is about themselves specifically (Naaman, et. al., 2015). Understanding this in conjunction with how important number of “likes” has become to those who post, many have begun to blame “likes” and social media for an increase in selfishness or self-absorption.

The alternative to receiving a lot of “likes” is receiving no “likes”, or not enough “likes” – and then what? Studies have shown that many social media users who receive fewer likes have reported feeling as if they “go unnoticed” are “less important” or are “not well-liked” (Perez, 2015). These thoughts can often lead to feelings of envy, perhaps of other users who receive more likes, and even depression. “We found that if Facebook users experience envy of their friends on Facebook, they are more likely to report feelings of depression”, said a Professor of the University of Missouri, who conducts research on this issue and similar issues (Hurst, 2015). The way social media users, young adults in particular, perceive themselves and each other online has a huge affect on their mindset and therefore their wellbeing (Beres, 2015). Evidently, self-perception and perceptions about others are largely correlated to the amount of “likes” each user receives. If those who are not receiving as many “likes” feel invalidated, envious, and even depressed, then it follows logically that those who do rack up high numbers should have a more positive social media experience, but that is not always the case.

For those users who do receive a lot of “likes”, there is evidence that they, too, experience negative effects. Social media is all about self-presentation and the way you choose to present or brand yourself for the online world. 68% of people say they post on social media as a way to give others a sense of who they are, what they like, and what they care about (Seiter, 2015). Thus, users are presenting their friends and followers with the best, or “coolest” version of themselves. Many social media users also admitted that they are very selective in the things they choose to post on social media, opting for the moments that look most like they are having a great time, with the hopes of receiving a large amount of “likes” for their efforts (Beres, 2015). For those who have mastered the art of presenting the “perfect” person online and garnering a high number of “likes” as a result, studies show it can negatively influence their mindset and wellbeing. Twenty out of twenty three students interviewed at Columbia College claim that social media has caused anxiety or added stress to their college experience (Tolly, 2015). Maintaining an online image or persona can be harmful to the user. “I think it adds a lot of pressure to be the perfect person because that’s how we make ourselves look online” explains one avid social media user and student (Tolly, 2015). In addition, those who tend to earn a lot of likes experience what is referred to as the “reciprocity effect”. Reciprocity is basically our natural instinct to give back to those who have given to us. In order to test the strength of this instinct, one sociologist completed a study during which he sent out 600 random Christmas cards. Despite not knowing to whom he was sending them, he received 200 in return (Seiter, 2015). Clearly, reciprocity is a very strong instinct and it has carried over into the world of social media. Those who receive a lot of “likes” tend to feel obligated to return the favor, and thus end up following and liking a great deal of photos and posts that they ordinarily would not. This process has become known on social media sites like Instagram as “like for like”, and has even become a common hash tag among users looking for likes from strangers. Said users then tend to feel overwhelmed, and also experience feelings of guilt if they do not follow through with returning “likes” (Seiter, 2015).

With any advancements, technology or otherwise, comes societal changes both positive and negative. The interconnectedness of our Internet age has led to wonderful progress in terms of communication and information sharing. With that being said, it has also led us into a time where social media use is being compared to drugs and alcohol in its level of addictiveness. Alongside social media we have been introduced the new, somewhat ambiguous concept of a “like”. What may seem like a harmless aspect of social interaction has proven otherwise, and its harmful affects are not limited simply to those who do not receive them. Those who get five likes and those who get four thousand are experiencing very similar outcomes; negative mental and emotional effects that correlate directly to number of “likes” received. The data is consistent, and both researchers and social media users themselves tend to agree; a large portion of our society, especially young adults, are being negatively affected by their social media use. Social media and its affect on self-esteem and the way we perceive others is irrefutable. As society continues to trend towards using the Internet and technology as a means of communication, we inadvertently strengthen the importance and relevance of “likes” and their role as a means by which to base a person’s worth.

Works Cited

Seiter, Courtney. “The Psychology of Social Media: The Deep Impulses That Drive Us Online.” Buffer Social. 10 Aug. 2015. Web. 2 Oct. 2015.

Naaman, Mor, Jeffrey Boase, and Chih-Hui Lai. “Is It Really About Me? Message Content in Social Awareness Streams.” Rutgers University School of Communication and Information. Web. 3 Nov. 2015.

Meikle, James. “Twitter is Harder to Resist than Cigarettes and Alcohol, Study Finds.” The Guardian. 3 Feb. 2012. Web. 3 Nov. 2015.

Tolly, Katlyn. “Does Social Media Affect Students Self-Esteem?” USA Today. 21 Oct Web. 2 Oct. 2015.

Perez, Jamie. “To Like or Not to Like: How Social Media Affects Self-Esteem.” The Sundial. 17 Mar. 2015. Web. 3 Nov. 2015.

Beres, Damon. “Heavy Facebook Use Makes Some People Jealous and Depressed: Study.” The Huffington Post. 2 Apr. 2015. Web. 14 Nov. 2015

Hurst, Nathan. “If Facebook Causes Envy, Depression Could Follow.” News Bureau University of Missouri. 3 Feb. 2015. Web. 30 Oct. 2015.

Term Paper Sample 5

MOOCs: Benefits, Costs, Ethics, Outcomes and Popular Opinion

Benjamin Rohe, EDUC685 Multimedia Literacy

November 30, 2014


The purpose of this paper is to introduce the reader to the concept of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), their formats, content, logistics, student performance and outcomes of completion.  Also discussed is the cost of “free” courses with respect to professional/faculty salary and time and/or resources.  Ethical concerns are raised for the purpose of protecting the participants from harm, exploitation and privacy infringement.  Finally, the topic of popular opinion of MOOCs is generated by some original research categorizing the types of comment left in online media from The Chronicle of Higher Education.


Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are very controversial and difficult to define.  Even when it comes to the origin of the name, some give credit to Dave Cormier, from the University of Prince Edward Island.  Others claim George Siemens and Stephen Downes coined the term themselves in 2008 during their connectivism and connective knowledge online course, which serves as the beginning point for what we now know as MOOCs (Schneider, 2013).  The general principle and modern version of taking a course from distance without direct contact with an instructor can be traced back to the 1980’s. Back then VHS cassettes would be mailed to distance learners and graded essays exams, reports and artwork would be sent back to an instructor for grading.  Many educational institutions including the University of Delaware offered distance courses on DVD-ROM as the technology advanced through the 1990’s. By the early portions of the 2000’s the Internet was the technology of choice for offering distance courses. The new platform for these courses was course management systems (CMS). CMS websites offered instructors a framework for posting readings, instructions and schedules for assignments, message boards and even gradebooks- everything necessary for an instructor to host a course entirely online.  Up to this point, all these classes were for credit at accredited universities and colleges, which meant the students were matriculated and paying tuition and fees.  Currently there is a general malaise towards higher education in the millennial generation and the media proliferation of the idea that many college graduates were unemployed, leading a few philanthropic individuals to the idea that courses should be offered to the masses for free as long as the students had access to the internet.  It was basically thought that it would be for the greater good to educate all of mankind.  This paper takes a general look at the MOOCs benefits, costs, ethics and end result as well as offering a bit of empirical evidence of the current opinion of MOOCs from commenters in online articles on the subject.

Definition of MOOCs and the Two Styles

Again, defining a MOOC is difficult as even the acronym is open to interpretation. Massive may again be subjective, a small liberal arts college may think 1,000 participants would be an insurmountable challenge, while a large Midwestern university with a popular course in a field of the universities core research expertise may draw hundreds of thousands of participants.  The term Open may lead many to believe that it is entirely free to the general public, however there are a few caveats.  Even the courses that are offered with no tuition towards the university may require a fee for licensing material through the platform provider.  This takes us to the Online term, which technically means it requires internet access. But more importantly, it requires access to another company or provider such as Coursera, Udacity, EdX, etc.  The content offered by the providers is often in the video or large file format that requires great bandwith or high speed internet access, so again that will cost someone (Khe, 2014).  The final letter is often referred to as Course, however there is an argument in the literature that it should mean content.

MOOCs can be categorized into 2 types: xMOOCs, which are content and curriculum driven or cMOOCs, which focus more on a collective conscience or sharing of knowledge.  In either case the content of the course is often offered by recorded lecture videos or recommended readings.  xMOOCs with their rote memorization style can often be compared to a large lecture class in the face to face (FtF) format, a critique that occurs often is that xMOOC is redundant with FtF format. Some critics of the system go so far as to say the FtF system is under duress in those large lecture hall style courses anyway and the xMOOC is the natural progression whether it is for better or worse.  One concern is that xMOOCS may water the content down to spread the information thin enough to make it reach the masses (Freedman, 2013).

One can imagine how grading would be difficult for an instructor with a 1:10,00 student ratio.  Because of that, many xMOOCs rely on multiple choice/fill-in-the-blank/matching assessments, similar to large lecture hall FtF format.  Just as a FtF instructor would not want to grade 200 essays or short answer exams in their basic Anatomy and Physiology class, one can imagine it would be impossible for an instructor to hand grade the 1,000 to 100,000 exams or quizzes turned in for a single MOOC. The downside of the xMOOC format is the lack of feedback on these types of tests.  The participants lose the opportunity for finding out why they got the wrong answer and may be doomed to repeat the error or just find the right answer by trial and error.  There is no discussion between the participant and the instructor to clear flawed previous knowledge or offer new analogies or experimental models that describe concepts in different views. All is not lost though for making sure participants are advancing through to the mid level Blooms hierarchies of learning as multiple choice questions can be written at the comprehension and application level by any instructor well trained in pedagogy and assessment.

The xMOOC format does work better for the natural sciences and mathematics, as some of the first and most successful xMOOCS are in the field of electrical engineering (Fisher, 2012). In this instance the instructor reluctantly flipped his class from a traditional lecture style to include xMOOC material.  He instructed the students to view the video lectures from another “superprofessor” and come to class ready to discuss the material and engage in active learning and Problem Based learning (Fisher, 2012). In fact xMOOCs may work so well for natural sciences courses that an Introductory Physics showed learning on a scale higher than lecture based traditional courses (Colvin, 2014).  However it does have its’ limits, the course was not as good as classes that offered active learning and problem based learning opportunities as in the above example (Colvin, 2014).  The authors though go on to say that it may depend on the course material and the students. A physics course with animations on force and motion will obviously be more beneficial than static images and hand drawn arrows. With that in mind, it would be best to choose the right format for the material or the right material for the format.

This xMOOC format could easily be stretched to include professional development. The University of Delaware offers many tiny versions of MOOCs, however they may not be open to the public but are free and sometimes a reuirement for university employees.  University workers have access to chemical hygiene, radiation safety, blood borne pathogen safety, and even IRB and HIPA training through xMOOC style training sessions that end in the user getting a certificate of completion.  If the university offered these classes to the general public they would need to slightly scale up format, which is the Massive focus of xMOOCs, training a large number of individuals in a curriculum of knowledge and skills.  Many recommend that MOOCs, especially xMOOCS are beneficial for badge earning.  Several united efforts are driving to make MOOCs an openly recognized occupational achievement worthy of as much credit as certification (Badge Alliance, 2013; Design Principles Documentation Project, 2013).  It is hoped that the badges will be held electronically through public sites such as Google and Mozilla.

cMOOCs are large classes that are based mostly on discussion and written assignments. This form of class may not benefit the introverted student.  According to Schneider, the cMOOC environment requires participatory culture (Schneider, 2013) which would benefit an extrovert participant.  It would be easy to lose the shy or hesitant to speak in a class of thousands, that does not have an instructor to goad them to participate in class. Schneider also states that the cMOOC requires a collective intelligence to carry on an informed discussion session or raise new ideas and concepts. The collective intelligence is created and enhanced by the cMOOC environment with its many geographically and culturally heterogeneous participants.  As demonstrated by Page, a group of diverse individuals taking turns offering input and opinions yields the most creative and greatest group intelligence (Page, 2008).  While any cMOOC detractors would argue that FtF is associated with better learning experiences, no difference in learning could be seen when comparing cMOOC to FtF through pre- and post-test performance (Kizilcec, 2013).

cMOOCs do have regions where they may just go completely wrong though.  The discussion forums may become an entangled mess of disconnected thoughts that is not a discussion but merely an effort to score participation points.  Or the exact opposite may happen, where the discussion section is used to simply answer the instructors question again to score points, but in this case it may just be 10,000 versions of the same answer and again, not a discussion.  Those participants that are not point scoring may just be lurking in the forums without contributing.  In other instances the discussion forum may degenerate into a brutish, nasty and fierce argument (Kirshner, 2012).  This arises in many instances in the non-punitive environment of online social media. Often, a discussion thread on Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and other media turns into name calling and denigrating those with opposing opinions.  The “trolls” feel as though they can hide in the anonymous masses of one hundred thousand other users.

Not only is the course size important in discussion, but also it is important when it comes to grading.  In cMOOCs, the class size requires an alternative to hand grading essays by the instructor.  Most cMOOCs get around this 1:100,000 instructor-student ratio issue by having the students peer review the work and grade the assignments (Rees, 2013).  There are several concerns with this method when the discussion of accrediting MOOCs comes up.  In the FtF format the instructor is culpable for assessment of student learning for good reason.  The students pay for the opportunity to learn from an expert in the field of study, not one another.  Peers may not hold the same responsibility or incentive to give the reviews or critiques the time and effort that it deserves.  The greatest learning tool is formative feedback. Peer grading in many instances may not be constructive, logical, in depth or even present on many assignments (Rees, 2013).  As noted by Rees, participants in many cMOOCs that are often required to perform 3-5 peer evaluations of work before being given their own score.  The system has a fatal flaw though in that the numerical score is necessary, yet the feedback may be left out.

When thought about in the most basic level, the openness of the cMOOC may generate its own issues. If one were to randomly select 10,000 individuals, the background and education would vary greatly.  The lack of prerequisites compounds the issue so that the basal level of understanding needed to form solid constructive criticism of one another’s work is simply not present.  There is no quality control; those participants sampling the work are unaware of the scale of possible outcomes.  Because someone writes better than you does not mean they have mastered the material, it may mean they are just above average.

One glimmer of hope for cMOOCs is that some platform providers are working on an artificial intelligence that would be better at grading essays and written assignments than peers (Markoff, 2014). However there are concerns that nonsense essays that use key terms and connectors to get good grades can fool the program.  Hopefully the technology will be perfected in the future, but for now it at least offers the opportunity for resubmission, so participants can tell if they have improved their writing.  The overall goal for cMOOCs is to create a massive community of connections through networked learning to develop shared practices, knowledge and learning.

Benefit and Completion Rate

In either case whether participants take an xMOOC or cMOOC, there may be the question as to what the benefit is to the student, why do students take MOOCs in the first place and on average how do they fair?  According to Hew, students join for several reasons.  Some are autodidacts that join MOOCs just to learn a new topic. Others are joining to refresh on old topics that they find themselves thrust into again (Hew, 2014). Some are taking courses as “Just-in-time” efforts that may pad resumes or help with upcoming projects as recognized in the anecdote of the authors colleague taking a class in HTML5 to make himself appear better on job searches (Kirshner, 2012).  However, independent of the reason for joining, there is on average a 95% drop out rate.  In any usual brick and mortar FtF class, a failure to complete rate like that would almost instantly lead to the instructor being relieved of his or her duties. In some reports, participants claim that a lack of incentive leads to skipping material or falling behind (Khe, 2014).  One journalist while taking a MOOC reported that the non-punitive and non-incentivized environment lead to him skipping course work to watch TV or go to the movies (Sweeney, 2013).  But as the future of MOOCs is unknown now, there is little information out there on how to incentivize the participants.

The Price of Free

It is a shame though that the drop out rate is so high and the participants do not see the benefit to continuing to completion when one looks at the cost of MOOCs. Hollands et al. created a rather comprehensive study on the cost of “free” courses offered through several of the usual platform providers.  When they took into account just the cost of personnel salary and staff wages they found that MOOCs cost almost the same as FtF courses in 3 different brick and mortar institutions.  The small liberal arts college faculty contributed 3-10 hours of preparation per video, at 12 videos per course that came to 36-120 hrs costing a total of $38,980 (Hollands, 2014).  This is roughly the same amount of time or more for prepping for an FtF lecture.  In the same report, Siemens and Downes the creators of MOOCs reported 770 and 108 hours of preparation respectively on all aspects of the course (Hollands, 2014).  This included 3 weeks of 70 hours a week for material preparation on top of 150 hours set aside for course design. Downes stated his time was in programming, creating the course website and maintenance throughout the time of the course, costing a total between $65,800-$71,790.  A museum offering a MOOC spent somewhere between $78,470-$104,620.  Most surprisingly a large Midwestern university that wanted to remain anonymous spent between $203,770 – $325,330 on a MOOC that lasted 5-8 weeks (Hollands, 2014).  The one interesting analysis by Hollands et al., was that when considering the cost per completed participant for the entire study, the price ranged between $74 to $272 – a surprisingly small sum of money.  However, it is important to remember that is just for personnel time.  It must be put into context that the personnel are occupying office space which includes electricity, internet, wifi, phone service, air conditioning, heating, water, sewage and in many cases a faculty development fund that pays for computers, software, printing services, travel expenses and ancillaries.  In fact the study does not state that “salary” includes fringe benefits, which could easily swell these numbers.  The fact that the course is on the internet means that material must be stored electronically on a server, which has it’s on costs and maintenance personnel.  Some material may require licensing agreements with the research libraries that have to offer the material to the public domain (Butler, 2012).  This is all paid for by the college or department, which in most cases has to pass the cost onto the matriculated students that are showing up to class.  Of course the benefit to them is that they leave with a degree after completion, not just knowledge.

Ethical Concerns for Participants

One may then ask if it is ethical to pass the cost of a free course to an already overburdened modern undergraduate.  Funny though, MOOCs themselves come with an ethical debate that is almost never-ending as the participants may be considered students as well as human subjects in an experiment.  According to Marshall, there are three main areas of ethical concern when it comes to the participants in the MOOC (Marshall, 2014). The first is to avoid doing harm, the concern is that you may be widening access to education but you need to make sure that the ensuing change is not harmful.  Some things are simple; do not overstate the goals of the course.  It would be unethical to tell the participants that they are as knowledgeable as electronal engineers after completing a MOOC.  They may try to apply the information improperly and harm themselves or others.  It is also important to realize that creating and maintaining a MOOC requires time from an instructor.  This may be time lost to a matriculated student or for credit class.  Or, to allow time to create a MOOC other courses may be cancelled or the enrollment may be trimmed down.

The second major concern is that the course instructors get participant consent as if it were a human subjects experiment, which is the case of many MOOCs.  MOOCs are often used as a source of a huge number of subjects in a social/educational experiment.  Data being retrieved from the participants from pre and post tests are often used for publication purposes that then go on to benefit the study investigators.  This may either be directly through grant funding or indirectly through promotion and tenure.  It is very important to not exploit the student.  In one instance a very public scenario played out when a MOOC professor shut off a course without informing the participants.  This was very disruptive to the learning environment and in some instances trust was lost between the participants and the instructor (Kolowich, 2014).  The instructor stated it was a preconceived action to get an emotional uprising from the students, however when asked about the subject Siemens stated that “learning is a vulnerable process, there is a responsibility on the part of the person you are making yourself vulnerable to” (Kolowich, 2014).  In an interesting turn, according to Kolowich the terms of service from the platform provider absolve the provider and the university from liability in the event of outages, interruptions and security issues.

This previews the third ethical concern; respecting the privacy of the participants (Marshall, 2014).  On most MOOC platforms there is advertising, in many instances the advertising is targeted by monitoring and utilizing web browser data on the end users computer.  Aside from the exploitation of the learning environment for making money off of advertisements, there is another aspect to this; the information along with the credentials given to the platform provider may be used by unscrupulous individuals in phishing scams and other means of targeting vulnerable individuals.  A final scenario when privacy is important would be when an authority figure participates in a MOOC along side subordinates.  If a professor were to take a course along with undergraduates and graduate students, the discussion forums can be a source of discord that could then spill-out into other courses and mentoring/advising manners. Reputations may be tarnished and status may no longer be upheld.

Public Opinion

In trying to gauge the public opinion of MOOCs in general, 10 online articles from The Chronicle of Higher Education were chosen randomly.  The comments under the article were rated as being positive towards, negative towards or neutral/off-topic towards MOOCs.  In total 314 comments were categorized and here are the results.  Eighty-five comments were categorized as positive towards MOOCs, 137 comment were categorized as negative towards MOOCs and 92 were categorized as neutral or off-topic.  Without any statistical verification, all that can be stated is that there was a trend towards negative comments about MOOCs. Almost half of the comments (47%) were of a negative fashion.  Less than one third of the comments (27%) were positive in nature.  Below is a selection of the topics that were under discussion many times lead by the topic of the article: Arguing credentials-certificate versus Statement of Completion; Arguing that MOOCs should be considered Massive Open Online Content, not Courses; Accountability for poor ethical practices; Celebrating MOOC success or focusing on what is working in this instance; Discussing course sizes; Discussing MOOC content inconsistencies; Ineffectiveness and poor offerings of current courses vs. optimistic look into the future.

Although the trend offered in this rather preliminary and anecdotal study shows that the current opinion on MOOCs is one of generally poorly used effort and time for no current incentive or benefit, there is hope for what may come in the future.  Commenters were quick to celebrate exceptional courses identifying them by name of course and instructor.  However no commenters similarly identified a poor course.  Almost no commenters showed interest in allowing MOOCs to count towards a degree.  But, there was some concession that a MOOC could offer knowledge and practice towards passing a placement exam so the participant could advance to higher than remedial courses.  It should also be noted that faculty, graduate students, administration and those interested in higher education, frequents The Chronicle of Higher Education.  This may skew the trend towards a reactionary and defensive posture against MOOCs in the commentaries of articles featured here. It may also severely limit the generalizability of the data, as it may not typify the opinion of the general public.  It may though show how MOOC creators and endorsers have a tough road ahead.  They will likely meet a great resistance from FtF faculty and brick and mortar administrators.


Badge Alliance. (2013).  24 November 2014. <>.

Butler, Brandon. ISSUE BRIEF Massive Open Online Courses: Legal and Policy Issues for Research Libraries. Association of Research Libraries. (2012). 29 November  2014. <>.

Colvin, K. F., Champaign, J., Liu, A., Zhou2, Q., Fredericks, C., & Pritchard, D. E. (2014). “Learning in an introductory physics MOOC: All cohorts learn equally, including an on-campus class.” International Review of Research in Open & Distance Learning. 15(4): 263-282.

Design Principles Documentation Project. (2013). 24 November 2014. <>.

Fisher, Douglas. “Warming up to MOOC’s.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. (2012) 24 November  2014. <>.

Freedman, Jonathan. “MOOCs: Usefully Middlebrow.” The Chronicle of Higher education. (2013). 29 November 2014. <>.

Hew, Keh, & Wing, S. C. “Students’ and instructors’ use of massive open online courses (MOOCs): Motivations and challenges.” Educational Research Review. (2014). 12: 45-58.


Hollands, F. M., & Tirthali, D. (2014). “Resource requirements and costs of developing and delivering MOOCs.” International Review of Research in Open & Distance Learning. 15(5): 113-133.

Kirshner, A. “A Pioneer in online education tries a MOOC.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. 59(6): 21-22. (2012) 24 November 2014. <>.

Kizilcec, Rene F. “Collaborative Learning in Geographically Distributed and In-person Groups.” Proceedings of the 1st Workshop on Massive Open Online Courses at the 16th Annual Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education Memphis, TN. (2013). <>

Kolowich, Steve. “In a MOOC Mystery, a Course Suddenly Vanishes.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. (2014). 24 November 2014. <>

Markoff, John. “Essay-Grading Software Offers Professors a Break.”  New York Times. Science. (2014). 24 November 2014. <>.

Marshall, S. (2014). “Exploring the ethical implications of MOOCs.” Distance Education. 35(2): 250-262.

Page, Susan E. The Difference: How the power of diversity creates better groups, firms, schools and societies. (2008). Princeton University Press.

Rees, Jonathan. “Peer Grading Can’t Work.” Inside Higher Ed. (2013). 24 November 2014. <>.

Schneider, Emily. “Welcome to the MOOCspace: a proposed theory and taxonomy for massive open online courses.” Proceedings of the 1st Workshop on Massive Open Online Courses at the 16th Annual Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education. (2013). Memphis, TN. <>

Sweeney, Isaac. “Why I’m a Bad Student.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. (2013). 24 November 2014.  <>.



Bibliography for public opinion study.


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  1. Kolowich S. (2014) Vive la Révolution MOOC. In: Chronicle of Higher Education. <>


  1. Sweeney bI. (2013) Why I’m a Bad Student. In: Chronicle of Higher eEducation. <>


  1. Carey K. (2012) Stanford’s Credential Problem. In: Chronicle of Higher Education. <>


  1. Freedman J. (2013) MOOCs: Usefully Middlebrow. In: Chronicle of Higher education. <>


  1. Kolowich S. (2014) In a MOOC Mystery, a Course Suddenly Vanishes. In: Chronicle of Higher Education. <>


  1. Fisher D. (2012) Warming up to MOOC’s. In: Chronicle of Higher Education. <>


  1. Head K. (2013) Of MOOCs and Mousetraps. In: Chronicle of Higher Education. <>


  1. Talbert R. (2013) When MOOCs melt down. In: Chronicle of Higher Education. <>


  1. Kolowich S. (2014) The MOOC where everybody learned. In: Chronicle of Higher Education. <>

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