Date of Award

January 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Margaret Healy


This dissertation aims to assess the degree of human resource personnel's acceptance of Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) providers. It is a critical part of understanding if MOOCs offer a viable and sustainable form of education because employer buy-in is essential to MOOCs' success, according to many who have studied this online learning phenomenon.

The sample for this study primarily was Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) board and committee members located in metropolitan areas throughout the U.S, with 112 qualified participants. Participants were recruited through email and other online methods to take the survey. The survey had three sections, including demographic questions, a Likert-like section based on key MOOC characteristics, and a choice-based conjoint (CBC) exercise in which participants selected the most qualified job applicant from a pool of mock candidates--some with MOOC credentials.

The results of this study reveal that participants, though largely unaware of MOOCs, are generally receptive to them once learning of their attributes. However, participants still prefer traditional education and work experience more than MOOCs when screening applicants--a finding uncovered during the simulation exercise. Despite this preference for traditional employment credentials, participants showed statistically significant preference for MOOCs when combined with traditional education. These results have implications for many higher education stakeholders, including employers, students, and higher education institutions.