To read this content please select one of the options below:

Gauging the value of MOOCs: An examination of American employers’ perceptions toward higher education change

Joseph A. Rosendale (Department of Management, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, Pennsylvania, USA)

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning

ISSN: 2042-3896

Article publication date: 8 May 2017




The purpose of this paper is to examine hiring managers’ perceptions of massive open online courses (MOOCs) as compared to traditional degree-conferred forms of higher education in relation to hiring and employment decisions.


A literature review is presented along with a triangulated theoretical framework. Using online survey data, quantitative methods reveal findings related to the main research question: what are hiring managers’ attitudes toward MOOCs as a form of post-secondary education?


Analysis of the data reveals that hiring managers have a clear preference for traditionally educated job applicants but employer demographics, apart from organizational procedures, do not significantly impact their overall perceptions of MOOCs’ value.

Research limitations/implications

Most of the research is based on anecdotal research. Very little has been written on how to fix this problem.

Practical implications

This paper illustrates implications of MOOCs’ future development and implementation both in higher education and in the labor-force. The main implication is that MOOCs represent neither a panacea to the issues facing higher education and the American labor-force nor an alarming threat to stakeholders appreciative of the status quo.


This paper fills a current research gap as evidenced in the literature; employers’ perceptions of MOOC-educated job applicants when compared to traditionally educated/degree-conferred job applicants. By determining the value of MOOCs as employers pragmatically view them, stakeholder groups can better determine their future positioning of MOOC-related resources in addition to time and money allocated in MOOCs’ direction.



Rosendale, J.A. (2017), "Gauging the value of MOOCs: An examination of American employers’ perceptions toward higher education change", Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, Vol. 7 No. 2, pp. 141-154.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles