What is a MOOC?

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are an evolutionary step further than Open Content. A few faculty have begun using online platforms to teach courses to large numbers of students, occasionally reaching above 100,000 enrollments in a single course offering. These courses are offered for free to anyone who chooses to access them. In the majority of cases, course credits are not offered for completing a MOOC. While one-off MOOCs have been taught since at least 2008, they are rapidly gaining momentum, largely due to companies and collaborative projects such as Coursera, edX, and Udacity.

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1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Moving past much of the hype that has appeared around MOOCs over the past year or two, we might start by seeing MOOCs as an innovative important part of our learning landscape rather than a challenger to or replacement for other forms of learning. (thanks Paul - well put! - amichaelberman amichaelberman Oct 20, 2013) This approach allows us to take the best of what we do with other learning approaches and tools so we can carry those into the development of and delivery of MOOCs--and the reverse is equally true, as I'm already seeing from my experience participating in MOOCs and applying lessons learned to the traininng-teaching-learning endeavors I facilitate. The relevancy to the educational sector I know best is that, for learners who are prepared to work effectively in a MOOC environment, there can be tremendous learning successes and the fostering of sustainable communities of learning.- paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 9, 2013
  • We are contemplating making both of our online offerings structured more like MOOCs as the demand for what we do is substantial both domestically and internationally. I can imagine that we would create a new hybrid type of MOOC that has some of the salient features, but is tweaked a bit to meet our unique needs. - deborah.cooke deborah.cooke Oct 10, 2013
  • My institution, the University of Leeds, is one of the first in the UK to make the move into MOOC provision with FutureLearn and, as launch day approaches, it is far too soon to say what, if any, impact it will have upon the wider educational landscape. However, a great deal of time, effort and money has gone into the production of the MOOCs, and if nothing else, it shows our high level of commitment to the concept. Will it revolutionise education as we know it? Maybe. Will it change the way we do things? It already has. The creation of digital assets that can be repurposed for online learning has increased exponentially since our MOOC project was first mooted and, if it acheives nothing else, it has succeeded in raising the level of interest in blended learning with our academics, which can only be a good thing. - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Oct 14, 2013
  • We at Javeriana Cali University are been following the MOOC movement for a couple of years since the Khan Academy experiment. We think that it is already changing the landscape of higher education and it will force all of us to think carefully about what are we providing to our students. In fact, we agree with "The Avalanche Is Comming" in terms of "the content is not the only think that we provide". About monetization, I belive that it is already happening: A few months ago I took a wonderful MOOC about Probabilistic Graphical Models from Daphne Koller. We were around 100.000 students. At some point, she talked about her book (with the same name) and I believe that several of us buy it. If 20% of us did it, we produced a lot of money. The course was fantastic and really make me easier to get the book which of course was much more deep than the course. (- jreinoso jreinoso Oct 14, 2013)- Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Oct 24, 2013

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Because MOOCs are still a relatively young and still-to-be-developed resource, we're not yet seeing trainers, teachers, and learners differentiate between the sort of MOOCs produced by Coursera, edX, Udacity, and others providing these "xMOOCs" as opposed to the more learner-oriented and creative approach we experience in connectivist MOOCs or "cMOOCs". The connectivist MOOCs really do force us to rethink our approach to learning in many ways, and seem to offer the greatest potential for supporting lifelong learning through collaboration and the development of sustainable learning communities.- paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 9, 2013 - jochen.robes jochen.robes Oct 21, 2013- Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Oct 24, 2013
  • I would agree with the above comment made here. The issues of granting credits and monitizing MOOCs is just around the corner. - deborah.cooke deborah.cooke Oct 10, 2013 Also agree. And what will the matrix be on how this will be granted credits is another discussion topic. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Oct 21, 2013
  • I also agree and would add that cMOOCs are by far the more innovative and interesting approach (and of course the precursor of xMOOCs). However, "thanks" to the media hype, at least for now xMOOCs and the inevitable monetization of MOOCs are much more present. - helga helga Oct 12, 2013 - paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 18, 2013- Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Oct 24, 2013
  • The UK HE community are collaborating with FutureLearn to market MOOCS: https://www.futurelearn.com/ but what we are producing are definitely xMOOCs rather than cMOOCs, which I personally find a little disappointing, as we all we are doing is just translating existing courses, by re-purposing the learning and teaching materials, rather than creating new and innovative content from scratch. Monetisation will kill off the MOOC. - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Oct 14, 2013

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on higher education?

  • MOOCs--particularly connectivist MOOCs--have the potential to make us rethink our entire approach to the way many of us have approached training-teaching-learning. A couple of examples: a) exploring the value of project-based learning (where learners actually expand course content by creating learning objects reflecting their growth as learners) as opposed to learning measured by quizzes and tests of information that is quickly forgotten rather than retained and applied, and b) having learners play active, integral roles in setting their learning goals and shaping their own learning experiences within the overal requirements of the learning experiences we provide and facilitate--think of it as the difference between fostering learning/exploration as we do through graduate-level seminars (for learners of all ages) as opposed to defining success based on a learner's ability to simply repeat what they have gained through lectures and rote memorization that doesn't stick.- paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 9, 2013 - jochen.robes jochen.robes Oct 21, 2013
  • The impact I think will be greater globally than locally for us as we look forward. Looking at MOOCs objectively, I find it interesting that the highest number of enrollments come from central Europe and developing countries where quality educational access is limited.- deborah.cooke deborah.cooke Oct 10, 2013 Fascinated by the information Deborah added about high enrollments in central Europe and developing countries; makes me wonder whether Google's Project Loon (mentioned in the "Review Press Clippings" section of this wiki as a project designed to increase Internet access in remote/underserved areas) will, as suggested, increase the use of MOOCs.- paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 10, 2013
  • Not sure if the emphasis should be only on MOOCs, but on the reasearch projects triggered by MOOCs. Such as learning analytics, peer-to-peer-grading, signature tracking etc. At least, MOOCs serve as catalysts... - jochen.robes jochen.robes Oct 13, 2013- Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Oct 24, 2013
  • Jochen is right - the spin offs from MOOC culture may well prove to be more fruitful than the MOOCs themselves. If all they do is open academic minds to the possibilities of what can be achieved through the use of online resources, then they will have served their purpose. - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Oct 14, 2013

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • #etmooc--the Educational Technology & Media MOOC creeated and facilitated by a wonderful group of Canadian educators including Alec Couros; learners learned by interacting via a variety of tools they were learning to use, and a core group continues to learn together via those tools (e.g., tweet chats and a Google+ community): http://etmooc.org/sample-page/
    - paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 9, 2013
  • Exploring Personal Learning Networks (#xplrpln) MOOC, a five-week course that began in early October 2013--facilitated by Jeff Merrell and Kimberly Scott from Northwestern University's Master's Program Learning and Organizational Change:http://mslocopen.wordpress.com/about/
    - paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 9, 2013
  • I'll have more to report on this topic and our project status next fall (2014). - deborah.cooke deborah.cooke Oct 10, 2013
  • I m part of the MOOC working group at the University of Leeds in the UK, and our first MOOC starts on 21st October 2013: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/when-worlds-collide - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Oct 14, 2013
  • In addition to the very well known Coursera, EdX and Udacity, it is nice to see new alternatives based on a more regional approach as Veduca, the first Latinamerican MOOC Platform. http://www.veduca.com.br/ (- jreinoso jreinoso Oct 14, 2013)

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