Fereshte Goshtasbpour



I am an academic tutor and a distance programme coordinator on Postgraduate Linguistics Network at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Prior to my doctoral study, I did an MA in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) and a BA in Translation Studies while working as an EFL tutor in the UK and Middle East.

What motivated me to undertake PhD study?

Coordinating the design and development of distance programmes has been an eye-opening experience for me and made me understand the challenges lectures and teaching staff face to teach on these programmes. It has been interesting to observe how by changing the medium of teaching, already existing teaching approaches do not fully support lecturers and tutors in their provision. Therefore, I decided to focus on finding more about teaching in online programmes particularly massive and open ones (MOOCs).

Besides, I enjoy studying since it helps me grow and learn.  

Research interests

Submission Date: 2018

With no enrolment limits and being free, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have the potential to reach thousands of learners worldwide and to be the most accessible form of education both in terms of access to the expert knowledge and to the community of other learners. Likewise, the development of MOOCs has benefited instructors by allowing them to experience teaching online to a large number of demographically diverse learners.

Nevertheless, despite the enriching teaching experience they can provide, teaching on MOOCs has its own challenges. Teaching large number of learners with diversity of age, educational experience, language and motivation and trying to be engaged with them is not easy. Lack of immediate response from learners, evaluating their work and difficulties involved in designing and creating adaptive learning paths are other features that make teaching on MOOCs complex. Yet, MOOC emerging research mainly focuses on learners and learning and there is a noticeable absent of focus on instructors and their practices.

Therefore, this doctoral research aims to build a comprehensive picture of instructors’ practices in these courses by examining the type and level of instructors’ contributions to discussions based on the Community of Inquiry framework. It will also look at the ways instructors support learnings in MOOC discussions. The hope is to move forward the less-investigated field of instructors’ intervention and teaching practices in Massive Open Online Courses.