Student Attitudes Toward Use of Massive Open Online Courses

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Educational Leadership


Department of Educational Administration


Advisor: Thomas J. Lasley, II


This study investigated students' attitudes toward massive open online courses (MOOCs) and their intention to use MOOCs for learning. Participants were administered a pre-existing survey that examined their future use of MOOCs based on the three theories: Technology Acceptance Model (TAM), learning strategies, and cognitive appraisal. Demographic variables of gender, age, and education level were also assessed for MOOC usage. The sample included 787 students (592 males and 195 females) enrolled in a MOOC at five Research I and five Basic Universities in the United States. A hierarchical regression analysis revealed that gender (females) was the strongest predictor of students' intention to use MOOCs in their learning process, followed by technology usage factors (i.e., perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use), a surface approach to learning, and appraisal factors of threat and challenge (i.e., students felt uncertain (threatened) by the subject matter but were confident (challenged) by using a MOOC for learning). A MANOVA analysis showed that age differences had no significant impact on usage factors or intention to use MOOCs. Theoretical and practical contributions are discussed. Future research to understand the gender and racial imbalance in MOOCs, as well as the perspectives and experiences of female and low-income students (and underrepresented populations) taking MOOCs should be explored. Finally, as online platforms continue to evolve, policymakers and higher education administrators should consider partnerships with industry leaders and MOOC providers to develop innovative solutions for offering MOOCs in the workplace and in high schools to provide a seamless entry to college.


Behaviorial Sciences, Intention to use massive open online courses, student attitudes toward MOOCs, cognitive appraisal, Technology Acceptance Model, learning strategies of deep learning and surface learning, open online courses, Coursera, edX, Canvas, online learning, TAM

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Copyright © 2019, author