Thesis Memo

August, 21, 2017
I could argue that culturally responsive teaching/pedagogy can reinforce self-efficacy. For example, including readings from Latin American cultures or projects that can produce an effect in their societies or lifestyle, can motivate Latino students to engage in a MOOC project.

Checar estas preguntas sacadas de este artículo: "Reducing the Need for Postsecondary
Remediation Using Self-efficacy to Identify  Underprepared African-American and Hispanic Adolescents" by
Carolyn Orange and Elizabeth Murakami Ramalho2
(Está en MAxqdA)
para ver si puedo editar alguna(s) de ellas para mi cuestionario:

What motivates you to stay in school?
 What do you do if you feel like you want to quit?
 How do you build self-confidence?
 Is there anyone that makes you want to work hard in school? Why?
 What are your plans after graduation?
 How do you cope and make yourself feel better and keep working when
you fail or you make mistakes?
 What keeps you going when you feel like giving up?
 How do you feel about doing difficult things?
 What makes you try to do them even though you know they are
 Do you ever feel like you are afraid to try to do something because you
might not be able to control what happens? What helps you to do it
 Do you feel you work hard or do you think you are just lucky?
 What are some strategies you use to study and make good grades?

August, 18, 2017

Chapter 2:

  • Include brief summary of different MOOC pedagogical models and teacher's role
  • MOOC learners experience
  • MOOC learners dropout reasons
  • MOOC learners engagement
  • Social Cognitive Theory
  • Self-efficacy
  • Self-efficacy in e-learning
  • self-efficacy and academic Achievement (motivation?)
  • self-efficacy and latinos

Look for these references:
Liyanagunawardena, T. R., Adams, A. A., & Williams, S. A. (2013). MOOCs: A systematic study of the
published literature 2008-2012. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed
Learning, 14(3), 202-227.

Morris, N. P., Hotchkiss, S., & Swinnerton, B. (2015). Can demographic information predict MOOC
learner outcomes? Proceedings Papers eMOOCs2015, 199-208.

Morris, N. P. (2014). How digital technologies, blended learning and MOOCs will impact the future of
Higher Education. In: Proceedings of eLearning 2014. eLearning 2014, 15-18 July 2014, Lisbon, Portugal.

Breslow, L. (2016). MOOC research: some of what we know and avenues for the future. Oregon:
Portland Press.

Guo, P. J., & Reinecke, K. (2014). Demographic differences in how students navigate through MOOCs.
In Proceedings of the first ACM conference on Learning@ scale conference (pp. 21-30). ACM.

Kizilcec, R. F., & Schneider, E. (2015). Motivation as a lens to understand online learners: Toward datadriven
design with the OLEI scale. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI), 22(2), 6.

Park, Y., Jung, I., & Reeves, T. C. (2015). Learning from MOOCs: a qualitative case study from the
learners’ perspectives. Educational Media International, 52(2), 72-87.

Terras, M. M., Ramsay, J., & Boyle, E. A. (2015). Digital media production and identity: Insights from a
psychological perspective. E-Learning and Digital Media, 2042753014568179.

July 28, 2017

Include in the questionary for participants a quesTIon about "obstacles". For example: What kind of obstacles did you have to face in order to finish a MOOC? Talking about "obstacles" is important in measuring self-efficacy

April 24, 2017

Maybe include the following questions to the questionary that I need to design when searching for participants at Coursera:

What social and cultural traits define you as Latino/a? (This kind of questions will help to describe participants persona).

February 2, 2017

Add a question regarding students belief in completing the course. This question will align with self-efficacy theory.

November 11, 2016

By including transformative learning, I can explore how/if MOOCs modified students habits of study, developed or reinforced self-efficacy and transformed their academic frame of references and professional lives.

Include this question to the students questionnaire:

  • Did the MOOC fulfill your expectations prior to take it?

Check this article for the definition below. I took this definition as a base for the definition that I included in the executive summary:

Putting transformative learning theory into practice
Christie, Michael ; Carey, Michael ; Robertson, Ann ; Grainger, Peter

Australian Journal of Adult Learning, Apr 2015, Vol.55(1), pp.9-30

"According to Mezirow, this theory explains how adult learners make sense or meaning of their experiences, how social and other structures influence the way they construe that experience, and how the dynamics involved in modifying meanings undergo changes when learners find them to be dysfunctional (Mezirow, 1991)"

November 10, 2016

  1. Question: I think that trying to respond whether students develop or reinforce self-efficacy through MOOCs   can help me focus on Self-Efficacy theory in my thesis

Researching papers for my thesis:
I suggest to use the method used in Tsai, C.-C., Chuang, S.-C., Liang, J.-C., & Tsai, M.-J. (2011). Self-efficacy in Internet-based Learning Environments: A Literature Review. Educational Technology & Society, 14 (4), 222–240:
  • Internet AND self-efficacy; 
  • web AND self-efficacy; 
  • network AND selfefficacy;
  •  e-learning AND self-efficacy; 
  • online AND self-efficacy
Possible titles:
  • Is Self-Efficacy Enough? A Qualitative Study Exploring the Learning Experiences and Needs of English as a Second Language Adult Latinos When Taking Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)
  • Self-Efficacy and  Massive Open  Online Courses (MOOCs) for Adult Latino/a English Language Learners (Joseph Suggestion)
  • The Self-Efficacy of ESL Adult Latinos and MOOCs Learning (Joseph suggestion). I like this one. (only if I'm going to use self-efficacy)
  • Exploring the Learning Experiences of Adult Latino/a English Language Learners in a Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) environment
  • Exploring the Learning Experiences of Adult Latino/a English Language Learners in a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) (I think this is the best title so far)
Purpose of the study

The purpose of this qualitative research study is to examine the self-efficacy beliefs and experiences of adult Latino/o English language learners enrolled in MOOCs and to understand the MOOCs-based influences on their academic and professional lives.

(I think that this purpose justifies why I'm using self-efficacy theory and Transformative Learning theory)

November 8, 2016

What is the connection between self-efficacy and transformative learning?
What is the connection of self-efficacy and MOOCs?
What is the connection between transformative learning and MOOCs?

Check the following thesis to have ideas on how to answer these questions:

NOTE: Read the articleS about MOOCs and self-efficacy in my MOOCS 2016 folder and look for more articles on the matter and MOOCs and students' motivation.

Question: Does the literature review has to go around the theory or MOOCs?

By the way... today is election day in USA. It's been difficult to try to concentrate reading articles and looking for the right theory to apply to my thesis while I'm listening to the news about the presidential election.... I'm crossing my fingers for having the right president... Go Hilary!!!!!!

November 7, 2016

I'm exploring Trasnformative learning to see if this theory can be used in my thesis.


  • Look for the relationship between self-efficacy and language learning to include this idea in my thesis.
  • I think that transformative learning can help me to answer the second part of the purpose of my study:  "how MOOCs influence their academic and professional lives. I think that the answer from the interviewees to this question can be "yes" or "not".

October 12, 2016

I'm trying to refine my thesis title.

The first title chosen was:

How Limited English Proficient (LEP) Latinos learn through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), and how these courses influence their academic and professional lives.

After some thinking, I decided to change the title as follows:

Is self-efficacy enough?: Exploring the learning experiences and needs of English as a Second Language Adult Latinos when taking Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

The reasons that led me to take this decision are:

1. I realized that the first title has two topics to explore instead of only one. I want to focus on the learning experience of the students.

2. To include Bandura's self-efficacy theory in the title. I think that by doing so, it provides more information to the readers about the theory that the study includes.

3. According to the Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) methodology “IPA aims to explore in detail participants’ personal lived experience and how participants make sense of that personal experience" (Smith, 2004). Therefore, I think that if the title includes words such as ""explore" and "experience", I'm stressing the aim of the methodology used.

4. I decided to change the subject of study. Instead on focusing on LEP, I prefer to focus on ESL. The reason is because most of the non-English speakers MOOC students identify themselves as ESL and not as LEP.

I looked for an opinion about this title. A friend of mine suggested me to change it to:

The Self-Efficacy of ESL Adult Latinos and MOOCs Learning

I like the title. However, I don't think that the title reflects what the study will be about. I need to give it a thought.


Smith, J. (2004). Reflecting on the development of interpretative phenomenological analysis and its contribution to qualitative research in psychology. Qualitative Research in Pshicology,1, 39-54.

October, 11, 2016

My life is a rollercoster right now. two weeks ago I was assigned my thesis advisor and he asked us to send him our executive summary for first revision. He already sent me his revision in the following email dates October 2, 2016:

Dear Ramon:

Good afternoon.  Thank you for submitting to me your executive summary.  The purpose of the one-page executive summary is to allow the two of us to get on the same page regarding your research intentions, ensure that your research purpose is clear and that it is supported with an appropriate theoretical framework, and lastly to ensure your research plan is well aligned to and supported by a strong methodology.

I have reviewed your executive summary and have made the following notes and/or questions:

As we have previously discussed, please submit on my template.

I am familiar with Bandura and his theory.  Are there other studies that you have identified around MOOCs?  What theories have they used?

How do you identify participants for your study as MOOCs, by definition, are open, free-choice courses?

I look forward to hearing back from you and working to further refine your executive summary.
My best,
Dr. Randell E. Trammell

I have to answer these short questions. However, I'm in the middle of a move to Mexico and it hasn't been easy for me to work on this. Moving back to Mexico has been complicated. My partner and I arrived to a little apartment that we have in our house (that is rented) while the apartment where we are going to stay is ready. We stayed for a week. During those days, we had to struggle with lack of water, lack of internet access, lack of phone, and sleeping in a room that was too hot at night that made sleeping difficult. Of course, we had to pay attention to many little details that are needed when you move to another country.

Yesterday, we finally moved to the department where we are going to stay for the next three months (or so) and we are trying to adjust to a place almost empty. We have an inflatable mattress; we had to go today to buy a table and two chairs to be able to finally sit down and be able to have our meals and work in our own projects.But we are lacking of many basic stuffs such as kitchen, bathroom and bedroom supplies, because our household goods will arrive from Washington DC I  approximately one month. So, our time living in our apartment will be very uncomfortable until we receive our household goods.

In the middle of this move, I'm supposed to work on the questions that Dr. Trammell sent me. Even they are not difficult questions, I need to be in the mood to be able to concentrate and work on it. So, I hope that I'll be able to be able to answer these questions and start moving on on the thesis process this very week.

May 17, 2016

I just want to paste a portion of my participation in the discussion forum that i think is important:

"My takeaway from Ponterotto's (2005) reading is that the methods to acquire knowledge evolve according to the historical time, and the interest behind the researchers. Positivists acquire and distribute knowledge from a scientific perspective in which facts have to speak by themselves, and where researcher’s’ opinions are not important. However, criticalists want to construct knowledge to create awareness of some political or social issue that needs to be transformed for the good of the society. They both use different methods to produce knowledge and have different goals in mind, and the perpetuation of that knowledge will be possible according to the response of the targeted audiences."

April 23, 2016

The interview was a great experience. I used Skype to make the interview and recorded it using "camtasia". Fortunately, both software worked fine at the moment of the interview so I think that I will use both software in the future. The most important thing that I learned from the interview is to avoid giving things for granted. Let me explain. My interviewee was selected among 7 persons who answered to my linked in post asking for help to conduct this interview. I chose my interviewee because she mentioned that she considers herself Latina and she speaks Spanish. Those are two variables that I was looking for my interview. We exchanged some emails, and I was ready for the interview. When I started the interview and went through the questions, I realized that I didn't include any question regarding her nationality or her ethnography. I realized about this issue when I mention in a question that she was Latina without she explicitly telling me that fact during the interview, so I had to modify a question and ask her to explain why she considered Latina, if so. this data could affect my interview if I don't collect this information directly from the interviewee. Another thing that caused me problems was to assimilate the kind of MOOC that the interviewee referred to.  So far my research about MOOCs has taught me that a MOOC is a independent course that offers certificates or different kind of credentials according to the MOC platform, but I had never heard that a MOOC has been used as part of a blended model for a course that grants university credits. So, when she explained that to me, it took me a little time to understand the differences. Despite my confusion, the information that she unveiled was very valuable for my research. I just need to try not to have a preset pattern in my head.

April 21, 2016

I needed to add and change some of my questions for my interview next Sunday. The interviewee told me that she has taken two MOOCs so far, so it would be would to learn from both experiences. So, Added some more questions and made some changes to others. Here is the result for a 45 minute interview:

1.     Tell us about your experience learning online? Prompt: Could you elaborate more?

2. Which MOOCs did you take at edX? Prompts: How long ago? Are these the only MOOCs that you have taken so far?

3. What is the reason that motivated you to register for these courses? Prompt: Did you take these courses for professional or other specific reasons? Please explain.

4. Were the courses what you expected? Prompt: Could you elaborate more in your response?

5. What instructional components (videos, assignments, readings, discussion forums, Google Hangouts) you think better fit your learning approach? Why?

6. What instructional components (videos, assignments, readings, discussion forums, Google Hangouts) you think less fit your learning approach? Why?

7. If you were told to design these courses, what other instructional components other than videos, assignments, readings, discussion forums, Google Hangouts, etc., would you add? Why? If none, how would you improve the existing ones?

8. Tell us about the MOOC that you finished. How did you manage your time to be successful in that course.

9. What previous skills do you think helped you to be successful in this course?

10. What (family, environmental, professional, etc.) factors helped you finish this course? Could you tell us more?

11. Was there a moment when you thought that you were not going to finish this course? Please explain.

12. Has the MOOC that you finished helped you in your current job? If so, how? Do you think this course will help you in your professional life?

13. Tell us about the MOOC that you didn’t finish. What was it about?

14. Why didn’t you finish it?

15. What advice would you tell a new student to be successful in a MOOC?

16. Are you planning to take more MOOCs? What topics are you interested in? Why?

17. Is there anything that you would like to add as a MOOC student?

I know. 17 questions seem a lot. I'll try to cut them to 15 by Sunday. Let's see what happens....

April 21, 2016

I read the feedback that one of my classmates did to my questions for the interview. I agree with her that I need to change some of the questions. the questions that I have planned to work during the interview are:
Protocol for a 45 minutes interview.
1.     Tell us about your experience learning online? Could you elaborate more?

2. What is the reason that motivated you to register for this course? How did you learn about this course? Do you need this course for professional or other specific reasons? Please explain.

3. Was the course what you expected? Could you elaborate more in your response?

4. What instructional components (videos, assignments, readings, discussion forums, Google Hangouts) better fit your learning approach? Why?

5. What instructional components (videos, assignments, readings, discussion forums, Google Hangouts) less fit your learning approach? Why?

6. Tell us how did you manage your time to be successful in this course.

7. What (family, environmental, professional, etc.) factors helped you finish this course? Could you tell us more?

8. If you were told to design this course, what other instructional components other than videos, assignments, readings, discussion forums, Google Hangouts, etc., would you add to this course? Why? If none, how would you improve the existing ones?

9. What advice would you tell a new student to be successful in this course?

10. Was there a moment when you thought that you were not going to finish this course? Please explain.

11. What previous skills do you think helped you to be successful in this course?

l'll fix them and I'll explain later why i had to change some of these questions.

April 18, 2016
I decided to use Linkledin  to find MOOC students who want to help me participate in the interview protocol for my class.
I wrote the following post:

Working on my Doctoral Thesis protocol and need some help from you.
Apr 19, 2016


Hello colleagues,

I'm working on my doctoral thesis protocol draft. I need one volunteer who can help me answering 10 questions. It is about learning from a MOOC. Any of you who has taken MOOCs could help me. Any volunteer?. If you are a native Spanish speaker who has taken a MOOC in English it would be much better, but it is not necessary. Please let me know if any of you is interested and I will send more details. Thanks in advance.

As of April 21st, 72 persons have read my post and I have received 6 notification of six people interested in helping me. Out of those six persons, there was one person who meets all the requirements for my study (Spanish speaker, latina, who finished a MOOC). I contacted her and we will have our interview this coming Sunday April 24, at 2:00 pm. I sent a personal thank you note to all those who responded, explaining them that I already choose the person for this exercise. LinkedIn is a powerful place for networking and for receiving help for these kind of course assignments.

April 8, 2016

I obtained the permission from Dr. comer to use the English Composition 1: Achieving expertise MOOC to use for my thesis. She just pointed out that she needs the permission from the University (Duke) but she think that there will not be any problem. I need to follow up with her. Dr. Comer made a good question for my research: I need to work on how to ask participant if they consider Latinos themselves or not. It is important to start thinking about the best way to elaborate this question.

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