Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Educational Measurement and Research

Major Professor

Janet Richards, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Eugenia Vomvoridi-Ivanovic, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ruthmae Sears, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sanghoon Park, Ph.D.


distance learning, mathematics, MOOC, online learning, student perceptions


Debates over the promising change Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) might offer to traditional online learning now produce significant attention and discourse among the media and higher education. Ample articles discuss the potential benefits of MOOCs from the perspectives of faculty and administration. However, little is known about students’ perceptions of MOOCs. Given the lack of relevant literature and the reality that MOOCs are created to benefit students, it is important to elicit current college students’ perceptions of MOOCs since it is well documented learning mathematics online has its problems (Ashby, Sadera, & McNary, 2011; Frame, 2012; Ho et al., 2010; Hughes et al., 2005; Jameson & Fusco, 2014).

In this descriptive exploratory case study, I explored the perceptions of eight adult college students enrolled in a developmental mathematical xMOOC. I utilized constant comparative methods (open, axial, and selective coding) to analyze the data and identified overarching themes related to student perceptions of learning developmental mathematics via an xMOOC. XMOOCs are structured like large online lecture courses, usually with auto grading features for tests and quizzes and video-recorded lectures. I also employed post structural tenets to scrutinize the data through different lenses. My goals were to explore college students’ perceptions of learning via developmental mathematical xMOOCs, the reasons students chose to learn developmental mathematics via an xMOOC, students’ beliefs of personal characteristics needed to successfully complete a developmental mathematical xMOOC and their ideas about how to improve developmental mathematical xMOOCs. The study provides insights about college students’ learning and success via developmental mathematical xMOOCs and adds needed information to the literature on higher education distance learning.