The purpose of this research study is to analyze the impact that Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have had on institutions of higher learning and explore successful strategies implemented by educational leaders in meeting the challenges of these new learning platforms. As online learning has exploded in recent years—with MOOCs representing the latest evolutions of that process—traditional educational methods at brick and mortar colleges and universities have been challenged by the scope and reach of virtual scholarship. With this rapid development of online learning, and MOOCs specifically, educators must learn to adapt and embrace these new cyber-driving educational venues to stay relevant in today's ever-changing, global learning environment. The insights garnered from this research project can shed light on actions taken by higher education leaders who have addressed the recent massive, evolving shift to virtual learning while still managing to retain the essence of the traditional college experiences at their campuses. It is the researcher's hope that the findings of this study will empower college educators to gain a deeper understanding of the impact of MOOCs on higher learning institutions, and to help them strategize ways to successfully incorporate these virtual learning venues into traditional educational programs at their schools. This qualitative, phenomenological research study encompasses the lived experiences of 12 higher education leaders who have had involvement with Massive Open Online Courses at their learning institutions as articulated through data collected from 12 semi-structured Interview Questions, framed by 4 overarching Research Questions. The findings of the research project have significant implications for individuals planning to implement and develop Massive Open Online Courses at their learning institutions.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; MOOCs (Web-based instruction) -- Education (Higher); Educational technology; Educational leadership

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Madjidi, Farzin;