Understanding English Dictionaries: the Experience from a Massive Open Online Course

Barbara McGillivray, Hilary Nesi, Michael Rundell, Kati Sule

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceedingpeer-review


We report on the experience from the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) dedicated to English dictionaries. The course was created by Coventry University in partnership with The Alan Turing Institute and Macmillan Education, and was provided by the online learning platform FutureLearn. The course ran in late 2019 (with 2477 participants) and again in early 2020 (with 2287 participants). The course relies on a highly interactive approach to knowledge acquisition and consists of articles, videos, interviews, links to further readings, and surveys aimed at stimulating learners’ active participation and interaction with the course content and with other participants. In this paper we reflect on our experience of running the course and interacting with participants, and we discuss the results of our quantitative and qualitative analysis of the MOOC. The analysis of the two editions of the course led to very similar results. We found that the majority of learners are female, with a university-level education, and work in the education and teaching sector. The course’s participation was comparatively high, and the learners showed a good level of engagement, indicating that there is an interest in accessible courses on lexicographic practice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLexicography for Inclusion
Subtitle of host publicationEURALEX XIX Congress of the European Association for Lexicography
EditorsZoe Gavriilidou, Maria Mitsiaki, Asimakis Fliatouras
Place of PublicationAlexandroupolis, Greece
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)978-618-85138-1-5
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2020
EventXIX EURALEX International Congress - Alexandroupolis, Greece
Duration: 7 Sep 202111 Sep 2021
Conference number: 19

Publication series

ISSN (Electronic)2521-7100


ConferenceXIX EURALEX International Congress
Internet address

Bibliographical note

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License


  • MOOC
  • massive online open course
  • data analysis
  • user data
  • lexicography
  • dictionary-making

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