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?

  • I think the caravan has moved on to more specific issues such as learning analytics, badges, nanodegrees, etc. - jochen.robes jochen.robes Oct 20, 2014 ...which seems to be supported by the fact that up to now there are no further comments on this page. But then, thereĀ“s still the weekend ahead of us of course ;-) - helga helga Oct 24, 2014
  • 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 - ole ole Oct 9, 2014 Would like to see a sustainable model for learning communities crafted from MOOCs like this. - jasonr jasonr Oct 17, 2014
  • 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 (The MOOC's role in raising the level of interest in blended learning is a really good point. - Elizabeth_Hodas Elizabeth_Hodas Oct 14, 2014)
  • 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)
  • MOOCs are the future in a knowledge based and democratic world community, indeed.Unfortunately, for instance my univertity has not taken up the concept so far and I'm afraid it'll last forever until something happens. As far as I can see, many European universities are as passive as is mine, and I do hope that Horizon Report can bring about a change. - ole ole Oct 9, 2014
  • There is discussion at our institution of using MOOC resources in helping to support the design of online curricula. It seems like this type of strategic application of MOOC-structured content has more chance of success than dropping students into a MOOC class and giving them credit for work. [[user:jasonr|1413586106] * [Inserting space here to avoid losing separation between comments]- paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 26, 2014

  • Picking up where I left off from our 2013 discussion: a year further down the road, and with the experience of taking another connectivist course (currently underway) and the equally important act of helping design and facilitate a connectivist MOOC with a group of colleagues, I remain convinced that there is an important place for MOOCs--particularly connectivist MOOCs (where learners learn as much by collaboratively creating content as they do by absorbing and regurgitating content)--within our learning landscape. Well-designed, well-facilitated MOOCs can and do sometimes inspire tremendous levels of engagement among those who understand how to take advantage of the learning opportunities they provide (let's not forget that learners do need guidance in how to navigate these courses), and they can be seen as part of the learning landscape rather than a threat to it. We still have a long way to go in figuring out what the sustainable model is for this part of what we do--but then again, the same thing can be said for online learning in general.- paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 26, 2014
  • It's interesting to see the shift away from 'openness' to a need for a business model (e.g. http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/moocs-will-not-transform-education-says-futurelearn-chief/2016379.article), Massive, no longer means massive (it's about outreach rather than numbers), and open is open is closed - neil.witt neil.witt Oct 27, 2014

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

  • Quality insurance - ole ole Oct 9, 2014
  • The discussion around the idea that MOOCs are failures because of low completion rates has come a long way in the past year, with even Forbes weighing in a bit [http://www.forbes.com/sites/ccap/2014/09/16/moocs-finishing-is-not-the-important-part/] about finding other ways to judge the success or failure of MOOCs as learning tools. I'm firmly in that camp that believes completion rates are the least compelling of arguments against (or for) MOOCs, and recognize that one of the big challenges of incorporating MOOCs into our work is to decide whether they pose a disruption worth considering: if we set aside completion rates as a make-'em-or-break-'em form of measurement and ask, instead, what learners stand to gain from them, can we find a way to quantify success in terms of whether MOOCs produce worthwhile learning results based on when learners feel they have "completed" them (by learning what they wanted/needed to learn) as opposed to completing them by passing every quiz and submitting every assignment instructors build into MOOCs?- paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 26, 2014
  • The possibility that highly-motivated, self-directed learners meeting through connectivist MOOCs might form long-lasting, open-ended cohorts of lifelong learners through connected-learning endeavors: http://www.nmc.org/news/open-innovations-etmooc-connected-learning-and-moochorts-lifelong-learners- paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 26, 2014
  • Business Models of MOOCs are Unsure - MOOCs have started off with a lot of enthusiasm but the business model(s) to make them sustainable and to deliver the value that is expected from them is/are less well understood. Therefore, universities are waiting and looking at each other, are others making the investment, what do we miss when we don't etc. - e.degroot e.degroot Oct 26, 2014 No comment. - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Oct 27, 2014 Heck, the business model of much of higher education is uncertain. K-12, too, in some areas. - bryan.alexander bryan.alexander Oct 28, 2014 [Editor's Note: Moved here from RQ4.]

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

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

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