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The rapid increase in the use of information technologies in third level education is changing the way courses are provided. Online multimedia have helped reduce the difficulties teachers face with a diversity of student profiles and a large number of students in a classroom. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) present an extreme with regard to student groups in relation to size and diversity and, therefore, many techniques and methods of overcoming the difficulties that this can present have been developed. Much of these methods can apply to online courses generally and to blended teaching environments. This study identifies four key areas where practitioners can learn from the large data set research provided by MOOCs. These are: methods of delivering content, dealing with the diversity of the group, providing for different learning preferences and assessment methods. Findings include the need for personalisation of the online environment, improving the use of peer assessment, the creation of more accessible learning content, and tailoring of the online environment to the pedagogical approach.
Byrne, A., Crean, P., Colton, K., McGarrigle, C. & Whelan, A. (2017) Blended learning - what practitioners can learn from MOOCs. Dublin: Dublin Institute of Technology.