A ‘participant first’ approach to designing for collaborative group work in MOOCs


  • Kulari Lokuge Dona
  • Janet Gregory




Massive Open Online Course, MOOC, learning design, Carpe Diem, design principles, online learning, MOOC design


This paper discusses the learning design of two Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), the Carpe Diem MOOC and the Autism MOOC, both of which were designed and delivered by Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia. The authors propose a set of principles to guide the design and development of MOOCs where the intent is to facilitate interaction and peer support between participants. They present details of how these principles were enacted in the design of the Carpe Diem MOOC and the Autism MOOC, particularly in the design of groups, and suggest that these principles can be viewed as a ‘participant first’ approach to design. Key elements of this approach include accessibility, navigation, clarity and consistency, purposeful use of tools and resources and effective support to enable participants to engage easily in collaborative work in MOOC environments.