Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have been offered by many institutions around the globe for the better part of a decade, and more recently in the Arab World. Learner engagement in MOOCs has also been researched in attempts to explain the varying degrees of engagement in these courses. This research aimed to explore the factors that affect learner engagement using an Arabic MOOC about E-Marketing offered by Edraak, one of the leading MOOC providers in the region, as a case study. This study used a mixed methods approach to explore the significance of the relationship between a) learner engagement and multiple demographic and psychographic variables of learners, and b) learner engagement and the perception of learners about the Community of Inquiry (CoI) presences; teaching presence, social presence and cognitive presence. Additionally, the research included interviews with some of the learners who participated in the MOOC in order to better understand the factors they themselves attribute to their engagement or disengagement; aiming to also explore the relationship between their engagement levels and their motivations, intentions from enrolling in the MOOC and self-regulated learning strategies. This study used a Chi-square test to explore which variables and presences had statistically significant relationships with engagement, which was defined as the level of learner interaction with the course activities, namely watching the weekly videos and attempting to solve the weekly quizzes. The results of the Chi-square test as well as a thematic analysis of the interviews using the CoI model, theories of motivation, self-regulated learning and andragogy are presented. Results of Chi-square test indicated that there is in fact statistical significance between learner engagement and variables such as age group, goal from enrolling in the MOOC, knowledge about the MOOC subject, eligibility for receiving a course completion certificate, previous enrollment in MOOCs and self-motivation. There was no statistical significance observed between the level of learner engagement and their perceptions of the CoI presences. A discussion on the interpretation of this data, the study limitations as well as recommendations for future research is also presented.


International & Comparative Education Department

Degree Name

MA in International & Comparative Education

Graduation Date


Submission Date

January 2018

First Advisor

Purinton, Ted

Committee Member 1

Hozayin, Russanne

Committee Member 2

Bali, Maha


169 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

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As I look back on this chapter in my life, with all its happy, sad, funny, and difficult moments I went through, I am filled with joy, pride and gratitude. Because it is in these moments, that I’ve had lifetime experiences, lifelong knowledge and endless memories. I want to first thank God, with all my heart, for blessing me every step of the way. I wouldn’t have been able to pursue this MA if it weren’t for the generosity of the AUC Staff Scholarship program. This scholarship was complimented by Dr. Aziza Ellozy, the Founding Director of the Center for Learning and Teaching (CLT), who has given me her approval and blessings to pursue this degree alongside my full time job at CLT. I’d like to thank each one of my professors and research supervisors, who have contributed to my journey by mentoring me, challenging me and pushing me, somehow they saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself, they helped me get to the point where I am actually writing the acknowledgements for my MA thesis research. My readers Dr. Maha Bali, Dr. Russanne Hozayin and Dr. Heba El Deghaidy I am very grateful for your support throughout this year. I’d also like to thank Dr. Nagwa Megahed for her research mentorship throughout these two and a half years. I’d like to thank my family; my mother Hala Salem who has always believed in me and supported me through encouraging words, prayers and positive energy; my father Khaled Aboulmagd for constantly encouraging me to give it my all, believing in me and being understanding as I worked to reach this moment; my older sister Sara who is also graduating with a Master of Science this semester, who has been alongside of me every bit of these couple of years, it has been wonderful learning alongside of you. My younger sister Salma, whose smile and love get me through each day. Finally, I’d like to thank my friends and colleagues; Sherif Kamal, Reham Refaat, and everyone who was part of this journey, with its ups and downs, with its excitement and stressful times, everybody who has encouraged me when I thought I couldn't make it. You all deserve immense recognition, I am grateful for your constant support; honestly I wouldn’t be here without it, so thank you.