Articles - General topics

The resurgence of community in online learning


In this contribution Stephen Downes addresses the question of how massive open online courses (MOOCs) will impact the future of distance education. The presentation considers in some detail the nature and purpose of a MOOC in contrast with traditional distance education. He argues that MOOCs represent the resurgence of community-based learning and will describe how distance education institutions will share MOOCs with each other and will supplement online interaction with communitybased resources and services. The phenomenon of ‘wrapped MOOCs’ will be described, and Downes will outline several examples of local support for global MOOCs. The implications for the non-English-speaking world of distance education will be considered, and Downes will outline strategies and examples of the use of MOOCs to promote linguistic diversity.


Educational Technology; IT; Massive Open Online Course; MOOC; Online learning community; Open courses; Peer community; Learning Analytics; Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL)

Full Text:

PDF (Italiano)



Boyd, D. (2006). Identity Production in a Networked Culture: Why Youth Heart MySpace. American Association for the Advancement of Science, February 19. St. Louis, MO. Retrieved from

Downes, S. (2007, February 3). What Connectivism Is [Web log post]. Retrieved from /2007/02/what-connectivism-is.html

Dubé, L., Bourhis, A. & Jacob, R. (2006). Towards a typology of virtual communities of practice. Interdisciplinary Journal of Information, Knowledge, and Management, 1, 69-93.

Han, S., & Bhattacharya, K. (2001). Constructionism, Learning by Design, and Project Based Learning. In M. Orey. Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from: Constructionism%2C_Learning_by_Design%2C_an d_Project_Based_Learning

Kuhn, T. (1962). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

LeDoux, J. (2003). Synaptic Self: How Our Brains Become Who We Are. Penguin Books. Retrieved from

Moore, M. G. (1997). Theory of Transactional Distance. In D. Keegan, Theoretical principles of distance education (pp. 22-38). Routlege Studies in Distance Education.

Polanyi, M. (1966). The Tacit Dimension. New York, NY: Anchor Books.

Siemens, G., & Downes, S. (2008, September 8). Connectivism and Connective Knowledge 2008 (CCK08) [Web newsletter]. Retrieved from /archive/08/09_08_thedaily.htm

Siemens, G., Downes, S., & Cormier, D. (2011). How This Course Works [Online course post] Retrieved from

Stefanick, L., & LeSage Jr, E. (2005). Limitations to developing virtual communities in the public sector: A local government case study. Canadian Public Administration, 48(2), 231-250. DOI: 10.1111/j.1754-7121.2005.tb02189.x

Wenger, E. (1998). HYPERLINK “ =1227187866819_1140452997_15052/communities% 20of%20practice_wenger.doc” Communities of practice: Learning as a social system . Systems Thinker, June. Retrieved from garden/cop/lss.shtml

Wenger, E. (1999). Communities of Practice: Learning, meaning and identity. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Wenger, E., & Trayner, B.(2004). Communities of practice: a brief introduction. Retrieved from http://wenger-trayner. com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/06-Brief-introductionto- communities-of-practice.pdf


Bruff, D. O., Fisher, D. H., McEwen, K. E., & Smith, B. E. (2013). Wrapping a MOOC: Student Perceptions of an Experiment in Blended Learning. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 9(2). Retrieved from

Day, R., Ker, P., Mackintosh, W., McGreal, R., Stacey, P., & Taylor, J. C. (2011). OERu Open Educational Resource University - Towards a logic model and plan for action. OERu Open Educational Resource University. Retrieved from pdf

Devlin, K. (2012, November 12). MOOC Lessons [Web log post]. Retrieved from /2012/11/mooc-lessons.html

Hedlund, T., & Rabow, I. (2007). Open Access in the Nordic Countries - a State of the Art Report. The Nordbib programme. Retrieved from OA_reports/NordicCountries.pdf

Hill, P., & Feldstein, M. (2013). Everything You Think You Know about MOOCs Could Be Wrong. ELI 2013 Online Spring Focus Session. Retrieved from events/eli-online-spring-focus-session/2013/2013/everything- you-think-you-know-about-moocs-could-be-wrong

Hogue, R. J. (2011, May 22). MOOC as Community of Practice [Web log comment]. Retrieved from RJHC: http://rjh.

Ingeno, L. (2013, May 2). Penn State partners with Coursera, will offer five free, mass online courses. The Daily Collegian [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.collegian.psu. edu/archives/article_789fc64b-17b8-5065-97e6- 562e96c1313e.html?mode=jqm

Kolowich, S. (2013, April 8). Coursera Takes a Nuanced View of MOOC Dropout Rates. The Chronicle of Higher Education Wired Campus Blog [Web log post]. Retrieved from nuanced-view-of-mooc-dropout-rates/43341? cid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

Leal Fonseca, D. E. (2011, March). EduCamp Colombia: Social Networked Learning for Teacher Training. (G. Siemens, & G. Conole (Eds.), The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 12(3). Retrieved from 77

Reich, J. (2013, May 19). Is a MOOC a Textbook or a Course? Education Week [Web log post]. Retrieved from http: // _a_mooc_a_textbook_or_a_course.html

Stallman, R. (1996). The Free Software Definition. Free Software Foundation. Retrieved from free-sw.html

The Daily Create (2013). DS106 [Online course]. Retrieved from

Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2015 TD Tecnologie Didattiche

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Italian Journal of Educational Technology (IJET) | ISSN (print) 2532-4632 | ISSN (online) 2532-7720