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Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are an innovation in higher education (Grajek, 2014). Faculty has challenges in designing MOOCs since most have mainly experience in developing campus-based courses. As MOOC platform are introduced in campus-based courses, it is important to investigate how this learning environment impacts on the design of MOOCs in relation to online environments. The aim of this study was therefore to investigate the influence of variations in the learning environment on the design of MOOCs.
A comparative case study approach was chosen to investigate two types of learning environments. The focus was on the similarities, differences and trends. The data collection was performed using semi-structured interviews. The answers were analyzed using a qualitative content analysis.
The pedagogical approach and learning content were the components that were mostly influenced. The targeted learners and the assessment of the learning activities were partly influenced. The learning environment didn’t impact on the course description, intended learning outcomes and aimed competencies.
The study contributed to knowledge on the influence of the learning environment on the design of MOOCs. Increasing understanding of the learning environment among faculty will contribute to a better design, implementation and evaluation of MOOCs and ultimately for the students’ benefit.