Our #edcmooc paths to finding Information – Results

Our #EdcMooc Path to Information

Screenshot of the survey

Following one of the previous posts explaining the plethora of research questions born during the e-learning and digital Cultures MOOC (#edcmooc), I set up a survey to explore how my peers explored information beyond the material provided by the course team.

I would like to thank all 78 of my peers who responded and took the time to contribute with their reflections and information journeys!

There is still a lot to reflect on and learn from my Personal Learning Network and I hope to find the time to come back to these results in the future. In the meantime, here are the first results:

Survey participants

collage-surveyAs I mentioned 78 fellow MOOCers responded to the survey. The number of responses seems very low in comparison to the  7,392 active #edcmooc participants of week two, as Hamish Macleod reported during the second live Google Hangout. By active participants we mean those who interacted with the Coursera platform even if their level of activity was minimum (e.g. just log in and/or browse).

While the results may be inconclusive, the 78 survey participants approach the the average number of participants in the Twitter chats.

So how did EdcMooc participants respond?

Did you need to follow a footnote in any of the digitized readings or explore more literature about a topic?

53% of the survey participants indicated they needed to either follow a reference from the readings or explore more about the topics, while 19% didn’t feel adventurous and another 15% were completely covered by the readings provided.


Do you have access to subscribed content in your work or study environment?

Overwhelmingly, 72% of the respondents had access to subscribed content although 10% of those didn’t need to use these resources. A significant proportion of another 28% of participants didn’t have access to subscription services.


The participants’ comments fed back what seems as the most important element of the survey; the path they used to find additional information and enrich their learning journey. The following Wordlde illustrates the major paths followed.

Google, Twitter and following links provided in other Social Media, such as Facebook and Google + were the dominant channels for finding information.


Some comments from participants, with subscribed content on their fingertips, include:

Followed up references by running literature searches.

I needed to go beyond what was provided as I cannot learn from videos.


On the Internet, using mainly Google Search.

For more academic material: Google Scholar, Academia.edu, Scopus.


Surfing the web


Mostly by googling them.
I thus have found entries in the good old Wikipedia, but also stumbled upon very interesting blogs of people I don’t know but who obviously are willing to share their own insights with the world
Absolutely fascinating experience.


If I want to know anything I pretty much always start with Google. 🙂


Googled around.  I have some access to online information services and was able to get to most of what I wanted.  Plus I have a big budget for e-books and books from Amazon.  🙂


I have the fortune to work for 3 universities (it’s a strange job, but I love it!), which gives me access to a lot more literature than I would otherwise have been able to read.


While participants like myself, with a plethora of resources on their fingertips, chose to either take the path of searching onto their subscribed online collections or not, my main interest focused on the journey of my peers who were exclusively relying on the materials provided by the tutors. I dug a bit deeper to explore this option.

Going for Information hiking…

Q3-No-access-to subscribed-content

I’m mostly “recycling” all the materials that I’ve had or found on FB, Ubuweb, twitter, YouTube & also other types of (musical & photographic) blogs, mostly non educational resources.

Recycling, collecting , structuring new things & new ideas from the everyday life are part of my process of learning though the digital environment & discovering the use of new tools. It might be time-consuming because I rely on visual & musical resources as a non English native speaker. As for (conceptual or ludicrous  video resources, they are as important as any academic texts to me and to those who want to have a further exploration of the ideas/concepts of this edcmooc.


I used two techninques:
1. Do a Google web search for the name of the author of the specific document. The keywords are the author name and document title.

2. Do a Google scholar search for the author and document. This usually gives documents that cite the document.


I either went searching around the net until I found what I was looking for, or went to a torrent site and got it that way.


I collected bibliographical information and will later see which of them I have access to without subscription or at my local library, since I am not connected to an educational institution.


Google and Wikipedia


Exploring through social media
Linked through with other resources that were posted by others
Google searches
Sharing the resources with others who then provided other links to other references


I sometimes found them from blogs, but mostly from Twitter or Facebook.



I’d rather leave the Information Literacy-related conclusions to all of you who may stop by this post. Looking at the responses as an observant, the comments give further evidence of the educational level of the participants as Hamish reported during the second Hangout; a significant percentage of the participants are experienced learners with a high  level of educational qualifications.

Pre-course survey run by the EDC MOOC Organisers.

Pre-course survey run by the EDC MOOC Organisers.


The survey was not initiated or supported by the Edinburgh EDC MOOC tutors team. It started from a personal interest in researching Information Literacy behaviours in the MOOC sphere.

Image credits:

To view the images and their licenses for reuse please visit my Flickr photostream

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12 Responses to Our #edcmooc paths to finding Information – Results

  1. Thank you, Eleni, for taking the time do this survey and publish the results in such a readable interesting format. Interesting work!

  2. essgarland says:

    Hi Eleni, Interesting and possibly a fair representation although 78 respondents is a surprise (on the low side). Also interesting how google features.ahead of Wiki. Thanks for putting this together.

  3. Ioanna Georgoudi says:

    Thank you Eleni for this great data presentation !

  4. Hello, thanks for this, I blogged about MOOCs including this at http://information-literacy.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/moocs-librarians-online-event.html I included an embed of Dave Cormier’s video explaining the original MOOC concept: I thought it was interesting that he evidently perceived that an enabler/stimulus for MOOCs was teh fact that “information is everywhere”. As I say in the blog post, it does reinforce for me the importance of developing lifelong information literacy skills, so that people are empowered to browse, search and encounter information effectively outside teh academy.

  5. Pingback: InfoLit in MOOCs | raptnrent.me

  6. Pingback: Our #edcmooc paths to finding Information - Results | Information and digital literacy and education via the digital path | Scoop.it

  7. Pingback: Gamify the online Lecture | Eleni's First Steps

  8. Thanks for your work here. It was a good reminder today of the course and some of the outcomes and findings. Just found it through Paperli.

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