Massive Open Online Courses

Special Issue on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), July 2014

 Click this link for Archive of this Special Issue

Guest Editors:  

Ghanashyam (Shyam) Sharma, PhD, State University of New York at Stony Brook

Michael Murphy, PhD, State University of New York at Oswego

Call for Papers

A segment of online education that remained little known in its early, open-source forms, massive open online courses (MOOCs) have recently been the object of much attention in higher education. Indeed, many observers seem to assume that MOOCs promise a new golden age of online learning, at once egalitarian, efficient, and affordable. However, while MOOCs increase access to educational resources across borders, the relentless push made by mainstream MOOC providers toward exporting privileged local models from a few centers around the world for an increasingly global education market raise geopolitical, cultural, ethical, and labor issues both within and across borders. Consequently, academic institutions as well as scholars and teachers are asking serious sociocultural, technological, pedagogical, and policy questions about the design and implementation of MOOCs. In this context, the Journal of Global Literacies, Technology, and Emerging Pedagogies (JOGLTEP) solicits articles for a special issue focusing on the intersections of MOOCs and cross-border education.

We invite contributors to address the various opportunities and challenges represented by MOOCs and other emerging forms of online education, with a focus on the global markets for education and academic labor they create as well as the cross-border educational engagements they make possible and more visible. While we use the term “cross-border” to indicate global, transnational, cross-cultural, and geopolitical borders, we assume that these borders are porous, complex, and hard to define. So, the issues of teaching/learning and the use of technology viewed from local settings should be situated in the context of globalization writ large because the global and local shape each other. Submissions can be theoretical, conceptual, methodological, and empirical/research-based. Manuscripts focusing on teachers’ personal experience and institutional initiatives are also welcome.

Articles may address questions and issues including but not limited to the following:

  • Perspectives and Issues: Especially when viewed from local perspectives, what are the different audiences, points of view, stakes, and opportunities in the discourse, research, and pedagogical practices of MOOCs? What kinds of research and scholarship opportunities are MOOCs creating and what avenues could be pursued? Who makes decisions for whose education and with what incentives and priorities?
  • Prospects and Challenges: What educational prospects do MOOCs promise for cross-border practices and engagements in higher education? What kinds of educational opportunities do learners find across borders — within and across cultures and nations– when they independently pursue those opportunities through MOOCs? What opportunities and challenges are MOOCs creating for universities, both those in global “centers” and those in global “peripheries” around the world, in terms of international collaboration, exchange, influence, benefits, and compromise? How are institutions, in local and global contexts, adopting and adapting the platforms, pedagogies, curricular resources, and practices of educational exchange through mainstream MOOCs? What alternative forms of online exchange offer other, potentially more reciprocal opportunities for learning?
  • Globalization and Academic Labor: How has the globalized market for education heralded by MOOCs affected the status and working conditions of teachers everywhere?  What are the ramifications of an increasingly trifurcated faculty hierarchy – MOOC stars, classroom teachers, and contract graders – on disciplinarity, collegiality, and academic governance? What public arguments and forms of labor organization might most effectively respond to these emerging new circumstances of academic labor? How are working conditions in a global market for academic labor distributed in terms of class, gender, race/ethnicity, language, culture, religion, age, ability, and nationality?
  • Financialization, Corporatization, and Efficiency: How do the financial and political interests of the third-party providers of virtual platforms for education affect cross-border engagements in traditional academic institutions? How have MOOCs changed as they’ve migrated more to for-profit and proprietary contexts than to not-for-profit and open-source ones?  What role does academic credit for participation in MOOCs play in this process?  To what extent could educational institutions and educators use MOOCs to address challenges created or intensified by MOOCs? What issues could MOOCs address that conventional cross-border educational engagements could not?
  • Digital Divides, Bridges: How do MOOCs affect/reshape the problematics of technology, which often entail dynamics of power, participation, privileges, and marginalization? What do the positive advantages of access and choice mean in light of differences of power leading to blind spots that affect both the technological designs and pedagogical models of mainstream MOOCs? What kinds of MOOCs based models and approaches are emerging on the horizons?
  • Specific Areas of Study: In what ways can MOOCs impact teaching, learning, and curriculum in specific classroom contexts (e.g., in education, sociology, anthropology, rhetoric, writing, etc.)?  

Please refer to “Author Guidelines” below for information on how to submit your manuscript. If you’d like to see a brief list of relevant readings about MOOCs compiled by the editors, please also refer to the section titled “A Compilation of Sources …” below. 


  • Submission of manuscript: February 15, 2014
  • Note: Authors who are not very familiar with the conventions/process of publishing in US-based academic journals like this one and who may benefit from preliminary feedback by helpful reader-mentors are welcome to submit their proposal or early draft for such support by the January 31. Please also feel free to simply ask any general questions with the editors.
  • Notification to authors of acceptance/rejection: March 15, 2014
  • Completion and return of double-blind peer reviewed drafts: May 15, 2014
  • Submission of finalized drafts: June 15, 2014

Publication of special issue: July 1, 2014 

Please Refer to Author Guidelines

Papers must be submitted through


Paper should address the field of global literacies, technologies (Web 2.0, social media, new media, mobile apps and pedagogy, cloud computing, etc.), and emerging pedagogies. 

JOGLTEP welcomes a variety of theoretical, conceptual, methodological, and empirical/research-based papers.

Author(s) should either follow American English (AE) or British English (BE), or they should be consistent.

Writings should be clear, concise, and consistent.

The submission must be original; it neither has been previously published, nor has been considered for publication nor  under review  in other  journals or elsewhere.


Article length is not an issue, however, preferably within 7000 words.

Article title should not exceed 25 words.

Article title page with author details (email ID, short bio, and institution) must be in a separate page; author’s name/s must be removed from the manuscript; if an author is cited, “author” and year should be used.

Article should include an abstract upto 175 words.

Articles should include keywords not exceeding 5 words.

Article classification should be indicated (e.g. research/empirical, methodological, theoretical, position paper, and interviews, etc.).

Appropriate headings and subheadings are required.

Article must follow the most current APA (6th edition) style guide.

Figures, tables, images, and multimedia files

Figures and tables should be placed within the texts with captions.

Images should be sent in seprate files using JPEG, Ping, or TIFF formats.

Multimedia files should be sent in separate files using flash or mp3 formats; multimedia materials (e.g. videos) should be between 3-5 minutes in length.

References should be in the current APA (6th edition) style format. 

Review process 

First a desk/home review will be conducted by editors. Next, each paper will be sent for a blind review, at least to be reviewed by three different reviewers. Reviewers’ recommendations will indicate whether paper is rejected, accepted or to be revised for publication.

Post-acceptance/publication (final submission) 

For the accepted papers, author(s) should complete final proofs and edits. 

A Compilation of Sources Contributors May Find Relevant

  • Here is a “literature review” about the “maturing of MOOCs” from UK’s Department of Business Innovation and Skills
  • This New York Times article reported the early expansion of mainstream MOOCs to the global arena; thisarticle from Inside HigherEd and this one from the Chronicle of Higher Education covered the same developments as the NYT article
  • MOOCs connect the global with local most strikingly in their potentials for outsourcing of intellectual/academic labor; here’s an article by Michael Murphy, one of the guest editors of this special issue and assistant professor of writing studies, on the subject of academic labor
  • Shyam Sharma, the other editor of this special issue and assistant professor of writing and rhetoric, wrote an article for the Chronicle of Higher Education in which he urged American teachers to be careful when making ambitious claims about “teaching the world” through MOOCs
  • The author of this article claims that MOOCs make waves worldwide in higher education; the author also covers an overview of criticisms/drawbacks of MOOCs
  • In a Chronicle of Higher Education blog (WorldWise section), Jason Lane and Kevin Kinser, two experts of distance education, wrote about the “McDonaldization of Global Higher Education
  • This article by Michael Trucano covers some of the general issues about the shortcomings of MOOCs in the context of developing countries
  • Traci Gardner, a teacher and scholar of language arts and writing studies, argues in this short blog postthat most dominant MOOCs have diverged from the what MOOC originally meant and were supposed to do
  • Giving a TED Talk, Daphne Koller, one of the two founders of Coursera, offers her definition and vision about MOOC’s role in higher education internationally
  • A teacher of writing in the United States, Tracy Gardner says, “I just don’t get it” about MOOCs in terms of their pedagogical affordances
  • This short document, by Aisha Al-Harthi, describes some of the cultural barriers she found in American MOOCs
  • Reporter Rivard discusses that the world is not flat as many believe in the discourse/practice of MOOCs
  • Here is an article from Forbes Magazine arguing in favor of moving education forward with MOOCs
  • In this fascinating article, Jeffrey Young of Chronicle reports about online education practices around the world
  • Patrick Deneen, a professor, writes about academic labor among other things in this article
  • As the leaders of the MOOC movement usually do, Daphne Koller (of Coursera) talks about “changing the world” in this NYT article
  • In this unique article, the author makes a “Catholic case against MOOCs
  • This Chronicle article reports discussions about the future of student international student mobility from the European Association of International Education
  • This report by a Chronicle of Higher Education reporter is about a “nonprofit” organization designed to address the need for more higher education in Rwanda, which is called “University in a Box” (in his personal blog, here, Shyam Sharma wrote a highly critical response to this article)
  • This blog at lists a few general issues about MOOCs
  • The author of this blog entry on Huffington Post argues that educators need “massively intense innovative courses” (or MIICs); another blogger for the same venue distinguishes between MOOC and open learning, arguing that the latter needs to be reclaimed
  • New models and approaches for assessment and accreditation are described in this article from Inside Higher Ed
  • This article describes how MOOCs are “getting real” in the developing world
  • The author of this blog entry addresses the issue of professors’ intellectual property as well as labor/work; the author further discusses the issue in this post; a Chronicle article from late 2012 also addressed the issue of professors’ place in MOOCs
  • Karen Head, who taught a writing MOOC, shares her experience of teaching it, including the technological limitations
  • A blogger for World Bank writes about MOOCs in Tanzania
  • This article discusses two different types of MOOCs in relation to different contexts in the world
  • This Educause page on MOOcs contains some useful resources
  • Here is a social bookmarking Diigo page where contributors are adding links on MOOCs news and developments
  • The RPA Journal published a special issue on MOOCs, which can be found here: (see Vol. 8, Summer 2013)
  • The journal JOLT also published a special issue on MOOCs, which can be found here.