"Operating at the limit of what was possible": A case study of facilitator experiences in an open online course
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The experiences of course facilitators in connectivist-type MOOCs are poorly reported. Yet there is evidence that the values and beliefs of facilitators have an important impact on the learning experiences of participants, and that reducing their interactions with students may also reduce the effectiveness of the course. This study aimed to determine the experiences of the facilitators of an open online course in order to develop a deeper understanding of how those experiences may have influenced the course outcomes. Three facilitators recorded their reflective discussion following the completion of a successful open online course among undergraduate physiotherapy students and a cohort of qualified physiotherapists from around the world. Facilitators in this course aimed to increase the number of meaningful interactions between all participants, finding that this led to significant challenges in developing and maintaining learner relationships. There were a variety of pressures that exerted an influence on their involvement. Course design influenced the number, type and quality of interactions, which came at a high cost in facilitator time and energy. However, they also led to rewarding learning experiences for both facilitators and participants.