Date of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Computer and Information Technology

First Advisor

Alejandra J Magana

Committee Chair

Alejandra J Magana

Committee Member 1

John A Springer

Committee Member 2

Dawn Laux


Computational thinking has become a crucial skill for the 21st Century learners in all disciplines. Research suggests that the best and fastest approach to understand the concepts of computational thinking is through developing programming skills. However, finding effective and affordable learning environments to introduce programming skills to a massive scale of students remains a challenge. Currently, the unprecedented utilization of MOOCs represent an opportunity to achieve this goal. But, existing introductory programming MOOCs have failed to provide instructionally-sound experience for learners. The purpose of this descriptive research is two-fold: (1) Identify the affordances of fifteen MOOC's platforms that are best suited to design and implement basic programming skills courses based on the community of inquiry (CoI) framework, and (2) Describe and compare how CoI framework-based instructional strategies were implemented in six basic programming skills MOOCs.