Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

Learning, Media & Technology


Massive open online courses (MOOCs), Web based instruction, Cognitive behaviorism


The rapid rise of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) signals a shift in the ways in which digital teaching and learning are engaged in and understood. Drawing upon a comprehensive search of nine leading academic databases, this paper examines the initial phase of MOOC scholarship (2009–2013), and offers an analysis of these empirical studies that conceptualizes themes in MOOC scholarship and locates them within a chronological framework. Two key phases of scholarship about MOOCs are identified, each with associated research imperatives and themes.