Exploring ESP Learners’ Motivation: the Case of MOOC Integration into the University Curriculum

Olga Nickolaevna Stognieva


This research examines the problem of motivation as an important variable in language learning including ESP (English for specific purposes). Despite the fact that there are different approaches to cultivating motivation the author suggests considering the potential of massive open online courses (MOOCs) that may help language learners of non-linguistic specialities. This paper describes the results of the integration of MOOCs into the ESP course curriculum at the faculty of Business Informatics of the National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow. The integration of the MOOС component in the ESP course demonstrated that the educational outcome, in this case, might be higher than in a traditional course due to such factors as the content of instruction being tailored to the learning needs of IT students, regular and inspiring feedback to the students from the MOOC instructors, the use of interactive teaching materials and a personalized approach to learning. Research findings illustrate that imbedding MOOCs in the university ESP course could become the basis for the integrated study of special subjects and the English language in the international learning community, under the condition that on-campus courses have been re-designed to incorporate MOOC-like component.  

Keywords: MOOC (Massive Open Online Course); higher education; ESP (English for Specific Purposes) course; student engagement; student motivation; online learning  

Full Text:



Bray, B., & McClaskey, K. (2015). Make learning personal. The What, Who, Wow, Where and Why. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Crookes, G., & Schmidt, R. W. (1991). Motivation: Reopening the research agenda. Language learning, 41(4), 469-512.

Dörnyei, Z. (2001). Teaching and researching motivation. Harlow, UK: Pearson.

Dörnyei, Z., & Ushioda, E. (2011). Teaching and researching motivation (2nd ed.). Harlow, UK: Pearson.

Dörnyei, Z. (2012). Motivation in language learning. Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press.

Dudley-Evans, T., & St John, M. J. (1998). Developments in English for Specific Purposes. A multi-disciplinary approach. Cambridge. Cambridge University Press.

Dudley-Evans, T. (2001). English for specific purposes, in R. Carter & D. Nunan (Eds.), The Cambridge guide to teaching English to speakers of other languages (pp. 131-136). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Flowerdew, J., & Peacock, M. (2001). Research perspectives on English for academic purposes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gardner, R. C., & Lambert, W. E. (1972). Attitudes and motivation in second-language learning. Rowley, MA: Newbury House.

Gardner, R. (1985). Social psychology and second language learning: The role of attitude and motivation. London: Edward Arnold.

Godwin-Jones, R. (2011). Mobile apps for language learning. Language Learning & Technology, 15(2), 2–11.

Graham, J. (2015). What teaching a MOOC with edX taught Me. Retrieved May 7, 2016, from http://blog.edx.org/what-teaching-a-mooc-with-edx-taught-me

Gruzdev, I., Makarov, K., Semenova, T., & Terentev, E. (2015). Who takes HSE Courses on Coursera? The Differences between economics, humanities and math-intensive courses. Higher Education in Russia and Beyond. Physics and Lyrics: Disciplinary Divide in Post-Soviet Academia, 3(5), 22–24.

Halpern, D. (2000). Psikhologiya kriticheskogo myshleniya [Critical thinking psychology]. SPb.: Piter. (In Russ.)

Hollands, F., & Tirthali, D. (2014). MOOCs: Expectations and Reality. Full report. Teachers College, Columbia University. Retrieved April 19, 2018, from http://cbcse.org/wordpress/wp- content/uploads/2014/05/ MOOCs_Expectations_and_Reality.pdf

Hutchison, T., & Waters, A. (1987). English for specific purposes: A learning centered approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hyland, K. (2007). English for Specific Purposes. In: Cummins J., Davison C. (eds) International Handbook of English Language Teaching. Springer International Handbooks of Education, vol 15. Springer, Boston, MA

Jordan, R.R. (1997). English for Academic Purposes. Cambridge (UK): Cambridge University Press.

Kennedy, C., & Bolitho, R. (1984). English for specific purposes. Macmillan Pub Ltd.

Khan, B.H. (1997). Web-based instruction: What is it and why is it? In B.H. Khan (Ed.), Web-based instruction. Englewood Cliffs: Educational Technology Publications.

Dörnyei, Z., & Kormos, J. (2000). The role of individual and social variables in oral task performance. Language teaching research, 4(3), 275-300.

Kucirkova, N., & FitzGerald, Е. (2015). Zuckerberg is ploughing billions into ‘personalised learning’ – why? Retrieved April 17, 2018, from https://theconversation.com/zuckerberg-is-ploughingbillions-into-personalised-learning-why-51940

Kuzminov, Y., & Carnoy, M. (2015). Online learning: How it affects the University structure and economics. Voprosy Obrazovaniya, 3, 8–43.

Lansford, L. (2014). Six reasons to use video in the ELT classroom. Retrieved April 10, 2018, from http://www.cambridge.org/elt/blog/2014/03/27/six-reasons-use-video-elt-classroom/

Manning, C., Morrison, B. R., & McIlroy, T. (2014). MOOCs in language education and professional teacher development: Possibilities and potential. Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal, 5(3), 294–308.

McCormack, C., & Jones, D. (1997). Building a web-based education system. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

MacIntyre, P.D. (2007). Willingness to communicate in the second language: Understanding the decision to speak as a volitional process. The Modern Language Journal, 91(4), 564–576.

Molodykh-Nagaeva, E.G., & Chuvilskaya, E.A. (2014). Inostrannyi yazyk v neyazykovom vuze: kak motivirovat' studenta? [Teaching a foreign language at the non-linguistic higher school: how to motivate students?]. Sovremennye problemy nauki i obrazovaniya, no. 5. (In Russ.) Retrieved April 2, 2018, from http://www.science-education.ru/ru/article/view?id=14871

Reinders, H. (2016). Innovation in language teaching #2: motivation and 21st century learners. Retrieved April 10, 2018, from http://www.cambridge.org/elt/blog/2016/04/07/innovation-teaching-practice/

Robinson, P. C. (1980). ESP (English for Specific Purposes): the present position. Oxford: Pergamon Press.

Rozanova, N.M. (2012). Prepodavanie v epokhu digital generation: obuchenie s ispol'zovaniem LMS [Teaching in the era of digital generation: training using LMS]. Terra Economicus, 10(4), 139–149. (In Russ.) Retrieved April 11, 2018, from http://cyberleninka.ru/article/n/prepodavanie-v-epohu-digital-generation-obuchenie-s-ispolzovaniem-lms

Rybushkina, S. V., & Chuchalin, A. I. (2015). Integrated approach to teaching ESP based on MOOCs. 43rd Annual SEFI Conference June 29 - July 2, 2015 Orléans, France.

Sierocka, H. (2008).The Role of the ESP Teacher. Business English, 2(56), 33–37.

Stognieva, O. N. (2016). Efficiency of individualised resources in the Russian EFL classroom. Journal of Language and Education, 2(4), 6374.

Strekalova, N.D. (2014). Keis-metod v nauchnykh issledovaniyakh magistrov menedzhmenta [Case method in the research works of master’s degree students in management]. Corporate Governance and innovative economic development of the North: Bulletin of Research Center of Corporate Law, Management and Venture Investment of Syktyvkar State University, no. 4, 184197. (In Russ.) Retrieved April 1, 2018, from http://vestnik-ku.ru/articles/2014/4/16.pdf

Strevens, P. (1988). ESP after twenty years: A re-appraisal. In M. Tickoo, M (Ed.), ESP: State of the art (pp. 1-13). Singapore: SEAMEO Regional Language Centre.

Tucker, L. (2016). 7 reasons to take a MOOC. Retrieved March 25, 2018, from http://www.topuniversities.com/blog/7-reasonstake-mooc.

Zaitseva, S. E. (2013). Formirovanie motivatsii izucheniya inostrannogo yazyka u studentov neyazykovykh spetsial’nostei [Developing motivation for learning a foreign language at the students of non-linguistic specialties]. Nauchnyi aspect, Samara: Aspect, 1(2). (In Russ.)


  • There are currently no refbacks.