In this special collection we bring together three papers from last year’s EADTU conference. The EADTU 2018 conference was held in Aarhus, Denmark with the theme of “Blended and Online Learning: Changing the Educational Landscape”. Three papers that cover the range of this topic were extended and adapted for publication in this issue of JIME. The articles address MOOC dropouts, learning analytics and designing for inclusive online learning.
Dalsgaard and Gislev examine ‘invisible learners’ (non-completing learners) in MOOCs through a qualitative study of learning activities and outcomes of invisible learners. Completion is a regular topic of debate in MOOC literature and this study reveals how those who do not complete exhibit self-governance by choosing what is relevant to them, and undertaking their own learning activities. Pearson et al look at how inclusive practice can be embedded in course design to support disabled students. This can be a particular challenge for distance education, and the paper reports practices regarding accessibility and inclusion for disabled students and provides examples of inclusive practice. Kyritsi et al explore data mining practices and their relation to student privacy. The applicability of an anonymization method sets out how the balance between data mining and the privacy issues can be realized to an extent.
What these three papers illustrate is that new approaches to education cannot, and are not, being implemented in isolation. Rather their impact on all learners and issues of ethics and inclusion are coming to the fore in discussions of educational technology.