A study of learning-by-doing in MOOCs through the integration of third-party external tools: comparison of synchronous and asynchronous running modes Articles uri icon

publication date

  • August 2018

start page

  • 1015

end page

  • 1033


  • 8


  • 24

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0948-695X

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 0948-6968


  • Many MOOCs are being designed replicating traditional passive teaching approaches but using video lectures as the means of transmitting information. However, it is well known that learning-by-doing increases retention rates and, thus, allows achieving a more effective learning. To this end, it is worth exploring which tools fit best in the context of each MOOC to enrich learners' experience, including built-in tools already available in the MOOC platform, and third-party external tools which can be integrated in the MOOC platform. This paper presents an example of the integration of a software development tool, called Codeboard, in three MOOCs which serve as an introduction to programming with Java. We analyze the effect this tool has on learners' interaction and engagement when running the MOOCs in synchronous (instructor-paced) or asynchronous (self-paced) modes. Results show that the overall use of the tool is similar, regardless of the course running mode, although in the case of the synchronous mode the use of the tool is concentrated in a shorter period of time. Results also show that in the synchronous mode there is a higher percentage of accesses to the tool from registered learners (who can save their advances and continue the work later); this finding suggests that learners in the synchronous running mode are more engaged with the MOOC.


  • Telecommunications


  • moocs; programming; tools; codeboard; instructor-paced; self-paced