An Exploratory Study of Emotional Affordance of a Massive Open Online Course

Jeremy C.Y. Cheng, Jan 25, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Well, it's different. And I like the perspective it takes, starting with J.J. Gibson's direct perception, and the idea that "here is nothing inherent in technology that automatically guarantees learning." According to the author, "Emotional affordance of MOOCs is defined as properties which facilitate or inhibit an emotion-related process or behaviour as perceived by its users." So how does this all play out? "Being perceived as an in-group member may induce different learning incentives or strategies. Investigating non-achievement emotions in MOOC might thus provide a more complete understanding of the learning dynamics in the MOOC as a connectivist learning platform where interactions amongst participants are the pillar of knowledge creation." The data (in Table 1) came from 2,752 items, not a huge sample but useful. The items were classed across a few dimensions (type, positivity, depth, achievement-related). We learn that "Emotion becomes more salient, more verbal, and more public in the MOOC. It also becomes more shared and distributed." As well, we see greater incidence of altruism and intergenerational responance. This approach would reveal a lot more if replicated on a much wider scale (for example, I saw that the rate of cogitive emotional lanbguage was lower, suggesting a need for participants to become more self-reflective).

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