Call for papers about assessment and accreditation in MOOCs


This special issue will accept papers that trackle assessment and accreditation in MOOCs.

Deadline to submit abstracts: December 1st, 2013.


Massive Online Open Courses are mushrooming around the globe with different aims in mind. We are witnessing a phenomenon that has a precedent in the economical and social sphere that can be called the "educational bubble" but we hope with different consequences than the real estate one. In this extensive framework some institutions pursue the genuine goal of these massive courses which is to make education accessible to the maximum number of human beings wherever they are. However, many others aspire to achieve other legitimate targets beyond the simple idea of being on the crest of the wave based on business models.

While everyone knows what a MOOC is and one can distinguish between different types of massive courses there are some open issues that have not been answered until now. Although some more time is needed to evaluate the quality of learning in a MOOC framework this quality does not seem to be one of the main concerns of the promoters and developers of these massive courses nowadays. So what does identify success in MOOCs? High enrolment, low percentage of drop outs, number of active participants, investment close to zero, broad geographical scope, high interaction showing participants´ involvement, good peer review comments, prestige of authors and institutions involved, participation of developing countries,...?

These and other unanswered questions lead to the crucial point for any educational action: learning. Are MOOCs really providing significant learning? To what extent do these courses make personal knowledge richer and more cognitively complex? What evidence do we have on short, middle and long term results? 

Learning assessment has at least two sides: the pedagogical one that attempts to help students to learn and the social one that responds to society about the legitimacy and validity of the learning. Both are inseparable and important and they have both been neglected by MOOCs promoted so far.


To provide in-depth answers to the challenges mentioned above, this special issue will accept papers that tackle the following topics and those that can show direct evidence of learning and can provide a transferable accreditation system for MOOCs participants:

- Alternative assessment methods for MOOCs.

- Successful peer-review systems in massive online courses.

- Formative and summative feedback in massive online courses.

- Effective official recognition mechanisms of participation in MOOCs.

- Incentives and rewards to avoid drop outs in MOOCs.

- Role and type of badges in MOOCs associated with learning activities and different approaches of learning.

- Theoretical and methodological approaches exploring the most suitable assessment mechanisms in MOOCs.

- Learning accreditation in massive courses. 

- Role of instant feedback in massive courses.

- Affordances and limitations in MOOCs assessment schemes.

- Transferability of MOOCs credits to formal education.


Spanish and English languages will be accepted. Papers will be published in their original language.


December 1st, 2013: deadline to submit abstracts (up to 1000 words).

January 1st, 2014: communication of preliminary acceptance of abstracts.

March 1st, 2014: deadline to submit full papers.

June 1st 2014: expected data of publication.

Author Guidelines

The criteria that are going to be considered when selecting articles are:

- Empirical or theoretical research based papers.

- Combination of theoretical and methodological approaches which reflect global, systemic and interdisciplinary knowledge.

- Clarity of results and conclusions.

- The papers must be original and they must not been published previously. The submission file must be sent in Microsoft Word (or equivalent) and in English or Spanish.

The articles must follow the stylistic and bibliographic requirements outlined in the Author Guidelines.

The articles selected will be subject to a blind review carried out by a group of experts.

Abstracts should be sent to:


Elena Barberà (eLearn Center/UOC)

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