A MOOC (a massively open online course) is a model for delivering learning content online to virtually any person who wants to get to know any course they want without making a payment to the institution providing it. MOOC platforms usually partnered with universities whose professors provide range of courses for hundreds of thousands of students online. Purely online course material delivered via distance education platforms without any tuition fee to anyone anywhere in the world. Courses generally do not have any prerequisites and many of the providers are the top universities around the world, including: Stanford; Harvard; MIT; Berkeley, and so on. Learners can be anyone, from any age group and they can register any course they want without considering educational background they have. They do not need to be a university student who is studying computer science to be enrolled in programming courses for example.
- It is massive because hundreds of thousands of student can enroll to the same course at the same time.
- It is open because anyone in the world can enroll to any course they want without depending on the educational level that they have. While some courses also make use of Open Educational Resources (OER) this is not the case for all moocs.
- It is online because all learning content delivered purely online virtually to any one.
- It is a course that provides any information that learner need from computer science to philosophy.
Some people question whether all moocs can really be described as 'massive', 'open', or 'courses'. This is for various reasons included the size of the course, the placement of prerequisites on entry, and the question regarding the nature of a 'course' versus the content delivered via a mooc.
There are two leading providers of MOOCs in the US. Coursera and edX.
- Coursera It is for-profit educational company founded by computer science professors from Stanford University that offers more than 30 courses for almost 2 million users from all around the world.
- EdX It is a non-profit start up from Harvard and MIT and Berkeley, launched in fall 2012.
On 14th of December, 2012 people in the UK woke up with an excited initiative by The Open University. UK's first MOOC platform Future Learn took place in the news.
Videos: Watch about MOOCs?
- In 4 minutes What is MOOC? MOOCs in 4 Mins.
- Why MOOCs? by Daphne Koller who is the co-founder of Coursera TED Talk by Koller
The role of moocs in education is contested. Some argue they will open up learning to the masses, while others raise the concern that they may create a two tier higher education system. Furthermore, concerns have been raised regarding the pedagogic value of moocs, and the means with which mooc providers can deliver effective and secure assessments.