Article Review – The Technological Dimension of a Massive Open Online Course: The Case of the CCK08 Course Tools

As part of my doctoral process, I have to review a lot of literature. A LOT. To motivate me to keep track of the resources as I read them, I am going to try to post summaries of the pertinent articles here. My hope is that I will get in the habit of writing and summarizing so that the literature review portion of my dissertation is easier to write. We’ll see if that works, and if I can keep up with the summaries!


Fini, A. (2009). The Technological Dimension of a Massive Open Online Course: The Case of the CCK08 Course Tools. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 10(5). Retrieved from


The article investigates attitudes towards the learning network technologies used in a Massive Open Online Course across three perspectives: lifelong learning in relation to open online education, personal knowledge management (PKM), and usability of web tools. The author describes results from a survey of participants of the Connectivism and Connective Knowledge course (CCK08), a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) facilitated by George Siemens and Steve Downes in the fall of 2008.

Approximately 2200 participants registered for the course, and hundreds of individuals around the world participated in the course at different levels and in different ways. Since there was not a publicly available list of CCK08 students, the sample for the survey was gathered through the learning management system (Moodle) and participant blogs. The survey was sent to 415 individuals and distributed via social platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, and the authors’ blog). Only 83 participants responded to the survey, which included 3 sections: personal information, general information about the CCK08 course, and detailed questions on each tool used in the course. In addition to frequency analysis, some responses were categorized for correlation analysis.

The results show that a higher percentage of formal students (those who had enrolled for formal credit) than informal students actually completed the course. Most students attended CCK08 for professional development, and claimed “lack of time” as the reason for not completing the course.

CCK08 was designed to make use of a variety of tools so that students could select the tools they found most valuable to their learning. The survey showed that students eschewed most of the informal tools (like Facebook, and LinkedIn) and preferred more structured tools (including Moodle, Elluminate, and Daily digests compiled and emailed by the facilitators.)

Categorical analysis of demographic data and selected tool preferences showed that students who did not have advanced English abilities also reported language issues during synchronous web conference sessions. There was no relationship between age, gender, or technology ability with technology preference.

The study has numerous weaknesses, the most obvious the bias in selecting survey recipients. The low response rate is also a significant issue.

Potential Application/Relevance:

The article help to design a similar study that includes technological factors or use as a variable.


2 thoughts on “Article Review – The Technological Dimension of a Massive Open Online Course: The Case of the CCK08 Course Tools

    • I got the idea from an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education. The author found that writing on a blog helped increase confidence in writing and provided a repository for information. I think it will help develop the discipline I need to just sit down and do it!

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