A Moodle-centric Model and Authoring Tool for cMOOC-Type
Aïcha Bakki and Lahcen Oubahssi
LIUM, EA 4023, Le Mans University, Avenue Messiaen, 72085 Le Mans CEDEX 9, France
Keywords: MOOC, Connectivism, Moodle, Authoring Tool, BPMN, Pedagogical Workflow, Operationalisation.
Abstract: The use of learning management systems gives rise to many difficulties for teachers and instructional
designers in terms of designing their courses. These difficulties are mainly related to the operationalisation of
pedagogical scenarios and the use of the corresponding tools, especially in a connectivist context. The work
presented in this paper focuses on learning design models for massive open online course (MOOC)
environments, and more specifically on assisting teachers in the design and implementation of pedagogical
scenarios for connectivist MOOCs (cMOOCs). The major contribution of this work is a visual authoring tool,
based on business workflows for the design and deployment of cMOOC-oriented scenarios on the Moodle
platform. The tool was also evaluated, primarily from the point of view of utility and usability. The findings
confirm that our tool can provide all the elements needed to formalise and operationalise such courses on the
Moodle platform.
Learning theories have long been a subject of wide
discussion in the educational field. They provide
concepts that contribute to the extension of teaching
methods and learning practices. There are several
approaches that can be mentioned here, such as socio-
constructivism, behaviourism and constructivism.
These approaches reflect several developments in the
educational field, and are in line with common
practices in actual learning, including computer-
based learning environments. Many researchers have
explored the limits of these approaches, and
particularly of the behaviourist conception of
teaching and learning. Piaget was one of the first to
demonstrate the limits of this approach by
highlighting the importance of taking into account the
progressive adaptation of each learner’s learning
process in all pedagogical approaches (Weegar &
Pacis, 2012). Several authors have criticised the
theories of behaviourism, cognitivism and
constructivism, on the basis that although these are
the most common teaching theories, they cannot meet
the challenges of the contemporary world (Černý,
2020; Gonzalez, 2004).
The evolution of the internet and the advent of
social networking have created interconnections
between users that were previously impossible.
Technology is changing the ways in which we think
and behave, and the ways in which we solve problems
and handle information. These changes are obvious
and fundamental, and it is impossible to ignore them
(Černý, 2020). To take advantage of these changes,
Siemens introduced a new learning approach in 2005
called connectivism, which he described as a
learning theory for the digital age(Siemens, 2004).
In his opinion, this new learning approach addressed
the limitations of previous learning theories within a
world driven by Web 2.0 technologies. Siemens
(2004) firmly anchored his theory in other traditional
learning theories, while describing these as
inadequate in the face of the new and revolutionary
social networking technologies affecting research,
teaching, and learning. With the advent of
connectivism, the specific needs of the digital world,
and particularly of online platforms and their
influence on learning, are increasingly taken into
account. This progress has led to the emergence of
MOOCs, which have recently demonstrated tangible
success for various educational stakeholders.
According to the co-founders of the first connectivist
course, the structure of such courses is based on four
practices (Downes, 2008; Kop, 2011): aggregation,
remixing, repurposing, and feed forwarding. A fifth
Bakki, A. and Oubahssi, L.
A Moodle-centric Model and Authoring Tool for cMOOC-Type Courses.
DOI: 10.5220/0010439105450556
In Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Computer Supported Education (CSEDU 2021) - Volume 1, pages 545-556
ISBN: 978-989-758-502-9
2021 by SCITEPRESS Science and Technology Publications, Lda. All rights reserved
category that involves evaluating activities was assed
to this categorisation (Bakki et al. 2019a).
Educational institutions increasingly rely on
MOOCs as a new form of pedagogical support and to
modernise their curricula. In addition to the
supporting role of MOOCs, a new pedagogy is
emerging that is enhancing or redynamising face-to-
face (F2F), distance and hybrid teaching. However,
the design of a connectivist course, known as a
cMOOC, though a learning management system
(LMS) presents several challenges that are related to
the assimilation of the design features of such courses
and to the operationalisation of scenarios by teachers.
This is particularly important in regard to the low
progress of these systems, as demonstrated in an
analysis conducted by Toven-Lindsey et al. (2015) of
a range of 76 MOOCs, which revealed that only 10%
of these courses could be categorised as cMOOCs. In
addition, pedagogical practices related to
connectivism are not explicitly embedded in the
pedagogical model of an LMS. Some platforms, such
as Moodle
or OpenEdx
, do not reduce this
complexity; nevertheless, the provision of adequate
support and facilities is difficult, despite the large and
active communities involved. In addition, since each
platform is based on a specific instructional design
paradigm and a specific pedagogy, practitioners are
often unfamiliar with this implicit type of
instructional design method (Abedmouleh, 2013; El
Mawas et al., 2016; Martinez-Ortiz et al., 2009).
This research work was carried out as part of the
Pastel research project. A key objective of this project
is the design of a process for incorporating new
technologies into pedagogy and teaching. This
process can be divided into the three main phases of
capitalisation, scenario design and operationalisation,
which are required to set up an editorial process. The
work presented in this paper focuses on the first two
phases of the editorial process and provides solutions
for designing and operationalising pedagogical
scenarios. In order to promote and facilitate the
implementation of cMOOCs by teachers and
instructors using the Moodle platform, we propose a
visual editor that includes concepts closely related to
the Moodle platform. We provide graphical notations
that are more user-friendly and which better address
the needs of the user than the XML syntax that is
usually provided. This paper focuses on learning
design models and addresses ways of constructing an
LMS-centric language that combines a pedagogical
model for a particular platform with a specific
pedagogical approach. The paper is structured as
follows: in Section 2, we discuss some related work
associated with our research problem, and analyse the
relationships between LMSs, instructional design and
MOOCs. Section 3 describes our approach, defining
a Moodle-oriented pedagogical model for the context
of a cMOOC. This section also describes our
principal contributions, namely the authoring tool and
the operationalisation service. Section 4 presents an
evaluation of the proposed tool. Finally, Section 5
draws some conclusions and outlines some directions
for future work.
2.1 Instructional Design and LMSs
The emergence of technology is constantly expanding
the possibilities for online learning, and continues to
contribute greatly to the evolution of e-learning.
LMSs or learning support systems (LSSs) are defined
as online learning technologies for the creation,
management and delivery of online content.
In today’s ubiquitous digital environment, LMSs
play an important role in improving and facilitating
distance teaching and learning. An LMS can not only
enable the delivery of digital instruction and
resources, which can improve and increase the quality
of learning in a collaborative environment, but can
also allow teachers to focus on designing their
teaching activities. We note that the design of
pedagogical situations on learning devices such as
educational platforms or LMS systems is not a
straightforward task. A large number of teacher-
designers face certain constraints when using these
platforms to design pedagogical scenarios (Steel,
2009). They are not accustomed to the implicit
pedagogical design language used (Martinez-Ortiz et
al., 2009), and are not able to implement the scripts
required by the platforms (Mekpiroona et al., 2008).
The main challenges relate to the specification of
functionalities, based on their knowledge about the
LMS and their skills in terms of pedagogical
conception. This is especially important since
pedagogical designs on LMS platforms are not
sufficiently flexible, and impose a specific paradigm.
Despite the existence of standards (Martinez-Ortiz et
al., 2009; Mekpiroona et al., 2008), approaches (De
Vries et al., 2006), languages (Baggetun et al., 2004),
architectures (Alario-Hoyos et al., 2013), and tools
CSEDU 2021 - 13th International Conference on Computer Supported Education
(Zedan & Al-Ajlan, 2007) that aim to promote and
improve the use of platforms through the
specification of graphical instructional languages and
platform-centric authoring tools, these are generally
incompatible with the platforms. In addition, they do
not facilitate the operationalisation of the designs that
are produced. This means that several modifications
to the initial scenario are required. Resulting in a loss
of information and semantic during the
operationalisation of the scenarios described outside
of the platforms (Abedmouleh, 2013).
As part of their research work, El Mawas et al.
(2016) and Abedmouleh et al. (2013) have described
a process for identifying and formalising the
pedagogical practices embedded in distance learning
platforms, based on a metamodelling approach. The
advantage of this proposal is that the identified
language can be used as a basis for the development
of new pedagogical conceptions and authoring tools.
Solutions that rely on the definition of the platform’s
pedagogical model have a second purpose. They also
provide a communication bridge between authoring
tools and the platforms concerned. In addition,
adopting a platform-centric language can preserve the
semantics of the pedagogical scenarios, meaning that
these scenarios can be implemented with limited
information loss. As part of our work, and in order to
develop a connectivist-oriented scenario model
centred on the Moodle platform (as described in
Section 3.1), we relied on this process when
identifying and formalising the embedded
pedagogical aspects in the LMS. Our main objective
was to identify cMOOC-oriented pedagogical
concepts embedded in Moodle in order to provide
solutions for assisting and supporting teachers
interested in adopting Moodle as a platform for
delivering cMOOC-based courses. Further work is
detailed in Section 3 of this paper.
2.2 LMSs and MOOCs
Since their emergence, MOOCs have been adopted
by a significant number of educational institutions.
Shah (2019) states that in 2018, more than 900
universities worldwide announced or launched more
than 11,400 MOOCs, and 101 million students signed
up to study a wide range of topics such as technology,
economics, social sciences and literature (Bonk &
Zhu, 2018). The purpose of these courses is to
contribute to the generalisation of learning, both for
students and for individuals who want to undertake
lifelong learning. It is also to extend education to
www.edx.org, www.fun-mooc.fr
persons who, for social or geographical reasons,
presently lack access to training (Bakki et al. 2015).
These environments are distinguished by several
characteristics, such as massive numbers of learners,
openness to all, accessibility on a large scale, the
nature of the qualifications and content, the
evaluation modalities, etc. They are based on existing
LMSs such as OpenEdx
and Moodle
Studying in an open and networked environment
such as a MOOC is challenging, since control of
educational activities is handed over from educational
institutions to individuals, who are generally isolated
learners (Fournier et al., 2014). Tasks that were
previously carried out by a teacher, such as setting
pedagogical objectives and evaluating a student’s
progress, can now be assigned to learners. These tasks
may be overwhelming for learners who are
unaccustomed to learning environments that require
them to be self-directed and self-regulated (Kop,
2011). Several research studies have addressed
specific issues related to these characteristics from
different perspectives. Furthermore, a large number
of research studies on MOOCs have been essentially
learner-centred, and have addressed various issues
related to drop-out rates, engagement or motivation
using various approaches such as trace analysis, for
different purposes, such as adaptation,
personalisation, etc. (Abrache et al., 2016; Alario-
Hoyos et al., 2014; Bendou et al., 2017; Hmedna et
al., 2019; Lee et al., 2016; Pilli & Admiraal, 2016;
Ramírez-Donoso et al., 2017; Wang et al., 2018;
Zheng et al., 2016). However, few works have
addressed issues related to teachers. In this regard,
several research questions can be highlighted, for
example: what role does the teacher play in these
massive and open environments? What are the
teacher’s needs when implementing these
environments? What tools and methods have been
proposed to support the teacher's activities (design,
deployment, monitoring, analysis, etc.)? In our work,
we are particularly interested in the second of these
research areas. We focus mainly on the design of
pedagogical scenarios, and especially on the process
of scenario design for cMOOCs, and their
deployment on specific LMSs.
An analysis of the environments currently used to
implement MOOCs led to the identification of
Moodle and OpenEdx as the two LMSs that are most
widely used to support these types of learning
environments. Based on this analysis, we examined
and compared the functionalities of these two LMSs.
The objective was to identify the connectivist-
A Moodle-centric Model and Authoring Tool for cMOOC-Type Courses
oriented functionalities embedded in these two LMSs.
As shown in Table 1, Moodle provides a more diverse
range of solutions for teachers who intend to adopt
connectivism as a pedagogical approach. In addition,
Moodle has been used for about 13 years in the
educational system. Moodle is also a free LMS
system that is predominantly used in universities. In
fact, according to statistics from Moodle, the number
of Moodle users is currently approximately
247,414,610. Conceived as an open source platform,
it has a community of developers and technological
contributors who have created plugins for a variety of
needs (Dougiamas & Taylor, 2003). A plugin is a
software component that adds or expands a specific
feature to complete a software application. It may also
enable the customisation of an interface or other
features depending on the user’s needs, such as
accessibility. For these reasons, we chose the Moodle
platform as our area of study and analysis.
3.1 Towards a Moodle-oriented
Pedagogical Model for the cMOOC
In this paper, we are specifically interested in the
identification and formalisation of the implicit
cMOOC-centric instructional design language used
in LMSs. This language will form the basis for the
development of binding solutions that will simplify
instructional design on the Moodle platform. These
solutions must ensure that pedagogical scenarios that
are formalised in conformance with a proposed
language can be operationalised in the LMS, with a
reduced semantic loss. In order to identify the
pedagogical core of the Moodle platform, and more
specifically to identify connectivist-oriented
pedagogical concepts, we adopt a platform-centric
We do not intend to enhance the semantics of the
pedagogical model embedded into the Moodle
platform. According to Abedmouleh (2013), an LMS
is not pedagogically neutral but embeds an implicit
language that is used to describe the process of
designing learning activities. Thus, our proposition is
based aims to identify the connectivist language
embedded in the Moodle platform and then to
explicitly formalise this language in a computer-
readable format. This format can be used as a binding
format for various external tools with different design
aspects. Our approach involves carrying out a
functional analysis of the Moodle platform, in which
we rely on the work conducted by El Mawas et al.
(2016). We have previously conducted a study of the
current state of the art in terms of the pedagogical
scenario design aspects of cMOOCs, and have put
together a compendium of teachers’ needs related to
the design and deployment of such courses, resulting
in a set of criteria and elements that regulate scenario
design in a cMOOC course (Bakki et al. 2019a). This
exploratory work also allowed for the abstraction of a
pedagogical model from existing cMOOCs, and some
of these elements are presented in Table 1.
Table 1: Connectivism vs. OpenEDX - Moodle elements mapping.
Associated Bloom Taxonomy Concepts
Read, search, categorize, quote, read, etc.
Page, URL,
Video, File,
Select, identify, argue, criticize, justify,
recommend, adapt, discuss, illustrate,
summarize, interpret, etc.
Chat, Forum,
LTI, Wiki,
Forum, HTML
Compose, construct, create, elaborate, plan,
reorganize, represent, schematize, write, etc.
Workshop, LTI
Examine, test, evaluate
Quiz, Workshop
CSEDU 2021 - 13th International Conference on Computer Supported Education
Figure 1: Construction process of our Moodle-centric scenario model.
Figure 2: Moodle-centric pedagogical scenario model for cMOOC context.
The next step is therefore to combine this abstract
pedagogical model with the requirements identified
for the cMOOC scenario design language, and the
main characteristics of a connectivist course (Figure
1). We also conduct a functional analysis of the
Moodle platform, which allows us to identify the
pedagogical model of the platform based on the
results reported by El Mawas et al. (2016) (Figure 1).
These two models, namely the connectivist
pedagogical scenario model and the Moodle-centred
pedagogical model, lead to specifications for these
models from two different perspectives. A
comparison (confrontation) between these two
models is then carried out (Figure 1-3), which allows
us to formalise the final conceptual language. The
objective is to combine the platform’s pedagogical
architecture with the elements of the connectivist
pedagogical scenario, in order to build a
representative model. This phase essentially involves
comparing, factorising and structuring the elements
of both models. Some parts of the models may be
identical, complementary or at different levels of
abstraction. The methodology consists of verifying
the elements of the respective models based on
several points, including the definition of similar
elements, the non-existence of certain elements, or
the generality or specificity of the relationships
between particular elements. The general concept of
this comparison is as follows: (i) we first verify the
non-existence of one or several elements, if
applicable; (ii) we identify a specification or
generalisation relationship between the model’s
elements; (iii) otherwise, we verify the difference of
the definition of the element in each model. More
specifically, we verify whether elements are at
different levels of abstraction. When all elements
have been verified, we obtain the Moodle-centric
pedagogical scenario model illustrated in Figure 2.
3.2 A Moodle-oriented Authoring Tool
In this section, we will present our visual authoring
tool for pedagogical design, which allows to specify
learning situations and then implement the
pedagogical scenarios to the Moodle Platform using
the deployment service. The use of graphical notation
to provide a visual syntax for modelling languages
has been developed and put into practice in many
different domains, and graphical notations have also
been developed to reduce the cognitive load when
working with complex semantic models. They
provide a comprehensive notation that can be clearly
understood by a wide range of users. In this vein, we
use an extended BPMN graphical notation (OMG,
2011) for the design of our pedagogical scenarios.
BPMN notation has many advantages as a
pedagogical modelling language, and has been used
to design various pedagogical situations in several
contexts (including F2F, hybrid and collaborative
environments) (Da Costa, 2014; Stylianakis & Arapi,
2013). The use of the BPMN was motivated through
an exploratory study of existing modelling languages.
A Moodle-centric Model and Authoring Tool for cMOOC-Type Courses
We compared the BPMN language to other
pedagogical modeling languages according to two
prevalent classifications, presented by Botturi et al.
(2006) and Nodenot (2007). Regarding the page limit
of this paper, more details on the conducted study can
be found here (Bakki et al. 2019a). BPMN meets our
requirements from the technical and descriptive
aspects contained in Botturi et al.'s (2006)
classification and according to the pedagogical
scenario aspects (such as role representation,
sequencing, collaboration, etc.) presented in
Nodenot's (2007) classification.
However, in order to meet the requirements to
provide the teacher with support in terms of designing
cMOOC-oriented pedagogical scenarios, we cannot
use BPMN as it stands. The specifications for BPMN
not only involve the use of graphical notations for
process descriptions, but also definitions of abstract
metamodels for these domains. We therefore propose
an extension to the concepts underlying BPMN,
which takes into account the specificities of a
cMOOC scenario by defining an abstract model and
a particular graphical notation for this model. We then
embed this extended notation and model into our tool.
The notations include elements describing the roles of
participants, the learning sessions, the different
categories of activities, and the resources and
sequencing of activities (Figure 3A).
The objective is not to build a new platform, but
to start with an existing tool and extend it. We
therefore selected the BPMN.io tool
, an open source
web application that uses BPMN 2.0 notation (OMG,
2011). Developing an extension to BPMN notation is
not the purpose of the current paper (Bakki et al.
2019b). Instead, we mainly focus on the presentation
of the tool’s functionalities, the extension of the
visual notation and the development of a Moodle
operationalisation service. In the following section,
we will take an example in order to illustrate our
proposal. This example involves a week’s activities
as part of a MOOC, on the topic of digital identity, as
shown in Table 2.
Table 2: Example of a textual pedagogical scenario.
the subject
Consulting a collection of resources
to discover the subject of the week
Conducting a web search on digital
Examining the key elements that
build a user's digital identity
the interests
and ideas of
Writing a blog post on the topic
Discovering the publications of others
Exchanges on the forum
Explaining and discussing acquired
ideas with peers; interacting
proactively in the chat room
Figure 3: The main interface of Visual Authoring Tool.
CSEDU 2021 - 13th International Conference on Computer Supported Education
3.2.1 From a Pedagogical Need to a BPMN
Pedagogical Scenario
We propose an authoring tool for teacher-designers
using the Moodle learning platform. This tool
provides a graphical interface for the design of
pedagogical scenarios by combining the elements of
a connectivist pedagogical scenario with a
pedagogical design language that is specific to the
Moodle platform. It is a web application that reifies
the pedagogical model presented in Section 3.1.
Once the teachers are connected, they can either
create a new scenario or modify an existing one. In
the following, we consider that teachers have chosen
to create a new scenario. After specifying the name of
the scenario and choosing the blank model, the
teacher is directed to the conception page. When
starting the scenario conception process, the teachers
first create a learning session. They access this via the
toolbox on the left of Figure 3A, in the learning
session block.
In order to support teachers, we ensured that the
modelling space was not empty when creating a new
scenario (Figure 3B), and an initial learning session is
therefore created by default. In a MOOC, one session
typically represents one week. The teachers are then
provided with an interface containing a pool, which
can be renamed or deleted. They can use the
Properties section (Figure 3C) to specify the duration
of this session (the start and end dates).
After creating their first session and specifying the
roles, the teachers can start creating different lessons.
We assume that a lesson encompasses a number of
activities. The teachers can continue modelling by
dragging the activities they want to include from the
toolbox into the model. In order to facilitate the
identification of activities, according to the four
principles of a connectivist course, we classify them
into four blocks with different colour codes.
Each activity has its own properties; for example,
for a consultation activity, the teachers specify
whether to use a resource, a page or a URL that
describes the activities to be carried out or presents a
description of the progress of this activity. If teachers
want to set a resource, they specify its type and the
link to access it. The example presented in Table 2
illustrates this process. Once the teacher has designed
all the activities, s/he will produce a workflow, as
shown in Figure 4 (1).
Once modelling is complete, the teachers can save
the scenario in different formats or deploy it on an
online platform using the Export to... button (Figure
3D). This action transforms the BPMN file into one
that can be imported by the Moodle platform.
3.2.2 From a Pedagogical Scenario to a
Moodle Learning Environment
In order to support the teacher, a service allowing for
the deployment of pedagogical scenarios was
developed. Operationalisation represents an
intermediate phase between learning and scenario
design, and the aim of this step is to ensure that the
scenario described by the teacher can be used and
manipulated in a LMS while preserving the
pedagogical semantics (Abedmouleh et al., 2011).
Our contribution uses hybrid approaches based on
processes and tools inspired by and/or applied in
model-driven engineering (Bonk & Zhu, 2018).
We implement an operationalisation service that
allows teachers to automatically deploy their
pedagogical scenarios on the Moodle platform, using
the transformation described in Section 3.2. To do so,
we provide a solution that allows the pedagogical
workflow to be transformed into a deployable
scenario. As illustrated in Figure 5, we propose a two-
phase approach.
(1) Transformation/Pretreatment. The aim at this
stage is to propose a confrontation (comparison)
between the pedagogical scenario and the elements of
Moodle, in order to resolve any ambiguities and to
match each concept in the scenario with a concept in
the chosen platform.
The general idea of the transformation algorithm
follows that described in Section 3.2. After the
BPMN pedagogical workflow has been generated, the
scenario is transformed into the format required by
Moodle, which in this case is the JSON format
(Figure 5). The teacher can also export the course in
MBZ format (Figure 5), via a process in which the
BPMN scenario is transformed into a set of XML
files. In practice, this transformation involves making
a backup of the Moodle course using the platform's
import functionality; our transformation engine then
modifies the backup archive with the information
contained in the BPMN file for the new scenario.
Finally, the teacher can import the modified
course manually into the Moodle platform. In our
example, after designing the lesson, the teacher can
deploy this scenario on the Moodle platform. Pressing
the Deploy button applies a pre-treatment phase that
runs in the backend and generates a JSON file
containing all the activities, by transforming the
BPMN file using the mechanism described below.
The JSON file for the example activities is shown in
Figure 4 (2).
A Moodle-centric Model and Authoring Tool for cMOOC-Type Courses
Figure 4: Illustrative example.
(2) Deployment. The operationalisation module acts
as a communication gateway between our tool and the
Moodle platform. For this purpose, we developed a
web service as a Moodle plugin. The JSON file
resulting from the preceding phase is sent via an
HTTP request; this is received and interpreted by the
developed plugin, which is automatically connected
to the platform, and is then automatically executed
using the Create course function.
Figure 5: Moodle operationalisation process.
The Rest API that we have developed connects to
the Moodle platform and deploys the different
activities after generating the JSON file. Note that the
transformation phase (i.e. the generation of the JSON
file) and the Rest API are executed in the backend.
Figure 4 (3) illustrates the Moodle course after
deployment in our example.
4.1 Objective and Description
In this research, the contributions were evaluated and
tested as they were specified through simulations and
user tests. Although experiments in a real-world
situation in which the tool was integrated into a
cMOOC project would have been valuable, this was
not possible, as it is risky for MOOC designers to rely
on a research prototype.
However, a final evaluation was conducted in an
experiment with 12 participants, to evaluate the
usability of our authoring tool. We aimed to verify the
ability of the proposed extension to create and model
cMOOC scenarios, and to evaluate the Moodle
deployment service. This experiment was carried out
CSEDU 2021 - 13th International Conference on Computer Supported Education
during a workshop, with users who had prior
knowledge and experience with pedagogical scenario
design and who had previously designed pedagogical
situations and had used different instructional design
tools. In our research context, it is very difficult to
engage candidates. Due to space limitations, the
experimental protocol and the results obtained will be
summarised here. For our experiment, we follow a
similar experimental protocol as presented in (Bakki
et al. 2019b) with a separate group of participants.
4.2 Experimental Protocol and Data
4.2.1 Experimental Protocol
Our evaluation protocol consisted of three steps, as
follows. (1) Preparation: We provided participants
with a user’s guide that explained the philosophy and
described the functionalities of the tool, and an
experimental guide that described the different steps
to be performed during this evaluation and the
scenario to be deployed. (2) Conception and
deployment: The aim in this step was for the
participants to design a pedagogical scenario for a
cMOOC according to the instructions provided
during the preparation phase, and then to deploy this
scenario on the Moodle platform provided. (3)
Results: In this step, we asked participants to
complete a questionnaire at the end of the evaluation,
in order to validate the utility and usability of our tool
and to obtain more information on their experiences.
4.2.2 Data Collection
The methodology used to collect the data in this
experiment involved opinion data collected from the
participants via a questionnaire. At the end of the
experiment, participants were asked to complete an
online questionnaire containing 25 closed-ended
questions, which was evaluated using a six-point
Likert scale. The first part of the questionnaire
focused mainly on the expressivity of the notation and
the deployment service. The second part measured
the usability of the tool, and for this part we used the
System Usability Scale (SUS) questionnaire (Bangor
et al., 2009).
4.3 Experimental Results
The first part of the questionnaire was divided into
two sections. The first section aimed to determine
whether the tool allowed the participant to produce a
simple design for a connectivist course. This section
also assessed whether participants were satisfied with
the tool and whether the notation used in the tool was
easy to understand. The final aim was to evaluate the
potential of the tool in terms of designing a cMOOC
course. In the first section of the questionnaire, 10 of
the participants agreed that the layout of the toolbox
allowed them to identify the elements, and indicated
that the tool offered all the concepts required when
designing a cMOOC course. Only two of them did not
agree with this statement. All participants indicated
that they had succeeded in formalising all the
concepts of their scenarios. The second section of the
questionnaire assessed the usability and utility of the
deployment service. All of the participants completed
this phase.
In total, 11 of the 12 participants reported that the
operationalisation service was very useful, and 10
found the automated operationalisation service easy
to use. A review of the feedback from participants
revealed that their scenarios had been successfully
deployed: between 75% and 100% of the designed
concepts have been successfully deployed on the
platform. These results are generally consistent with
those of the scenario analysis. We noticed that some
users did not fully complete the metadata, which
explains the rates obtained. In the second part, the
SUS questionnaire was used to measure the usability
of our authoring tool. SUS is a popular and effective
tool for assessing the usability of various systems
(Bangor et al., 2009), and uses closed-ended
questions with a five-point Likert scale. Although
only 12 participants were involved in this experiment,
this was sufficient to detect any major problems with
usability (Virzi, 1992). Before calculating the SUS
score, we pre-processed the participants’ responses to
remove any errors.
In order to detect these errors, we used the grid
presented by McLellan et al. (2012), which considers
all responses provided with a score greater than three
for all negative statements as incorrect. Of the 12
responses received, three were withdrawn. Overall,
the average SUS score for all participants was 73.05,
with a SD of 13.09. This corresponds to the 68th
percentile, according to the standardisation presented
by Sauro and Lewis (2011).
In accordance with the empirical rule for
interpreting SUS scores (Bangor et al., 2009), scores
of less than 50 were considered unacceptable, scores
of between 50 and 70 were marginally acceptable,
and scores of above 70 were acceptable. Using this
acceptability scale, an average SUS score of 73.03
indicates that our tool is “acceptable”, and a good
result was obtained for the notation.
A Moodle-centric Model and Authoring Tool for cMOOC-Type Courses
Figure 6: SUS Score.
In this paper, we have proposed a solution to support
pedagogical scenario building for connectivist
MOOCs. The work presented in this paper is a
continuity of the work conducted in (Bakki et al.,
2019b). The latter is based on a pedagogical oriented
approach. However, in this work, we are interested in
a platform-oriented approach and more particularly in
the Moodle platform. Thus, our main contribution is
a visual authoring tool that allows for the design and
deployment of cMOOC-oriented scenarios, using the
BPMN model for graphical representation. We apply
a two-step process, from the design to the
operationalisation of pedagogical scenarios. The first
step consists of modelling the scenario using our
editor, which can be used by teachers without specific
technical knowledge. The second step involves the
automatic deployment of a scenario designed using a
Moodle web service API.
Our contributions were evaluated and tested as
they were developed, in order to verify them against
the real needs of the ultimate users. The final
evaluation was carried out with 12 participants, in
order to evaluate the usability and utility of our tool,
and was carried out via a questionnaire that was
supplied to the participants when the experiment was
complete. The findings confirmed that the tool
allowed users to easily design and deploy connectivist
pedagogical scenarios. In the context of a cMOOC, a
course is initially designed by the teacher, and
learners are then encouraged to adapt it based on their
learning objectives. As a perspective of our work, we
therefore consider that a methodology based on the
co-design of a scenario that is currently in use would
be a possible solution to this challenge, by giving
access to the learners to tool with special and
restricted roles and privileges. We will also explore
the possibilities to evaluate our tool with a larger
number of teachers and/or designers. We will also
explore the possibility of evaluating our tool with a
larger number of teachers and/or designers.
The contributions presented in this paper have a
twofold purpose: firstly, our aim is to assist teachers
in conceiving MOOCs, and secondly, we seek to
bridge the gap between the design and deployment
phases by providing technical solutions to teachers or
educational institutions working with the Moodle
platform. We would like to point out that the Moodle
platform module is recognised as one of the most
widely used platforms at the national and
international levels, with more than 243,000,000
users and 31,896,069 courses. According to statistics
from Moodle, their LMS is currently used by over
60% of higher education institutions all over the
A major strength of the Moodle platform is the
two very active Moodle communities that have been
formed over the years. The first concerns the
pedagogical community (teachers and pedagogical
engineers), whose exchanges are centred on the
pedagogical model embedded into the Moodle
platform. The second is a more tech-oriented
community (Moodle API developers), who focus on
providing technical solutions to Moodle users. Both
communities could contribute significantly to the
adoption of our solutions by educational institutions,
and especially universities, which have started to
deploy MOOCs over the last few years.
CSEDU 2021 - 13th International Conference on Computer Supported Education
The current work is supported by the ANR project
PASTEL <ANR-16-CE38-0007>. The authors want
to thank all the persons who have contributed to this
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