What are Massive Open Online Courses?

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?

  • - kevin-johnson kevin-johnson Feb 8, 2015They offer rich professional development opportunities for teachers. EdX now offers (since 2014) High School MOOCs, a great, potential way for students to supplement their typical instruction (for free)! Down the road, I certainly think MOOC will expand to include Junior High level courses, and the quality of MOOCs will also improve much over time; this is still early days.
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(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

  • With the recent addition of Edx https://www.edx.org/high-school-initiative and TEDed http://ed.ted.com , these two companies will make a strong impact, similar to what Google did for the search engine and Khan Academy did for math. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Feb 7, 2015
  • - kevin-johnson kevin-johnson Feb 8, 2015I agree with Michael (above) and expect this will extend in breadth and depth over time, to include more content at an even lower grade range. Khan Academy has purposefully worked with K to 12 teachers to make their platform even more useful in recent years.
  • High impact on teachers. MOOCs are scalable and cost-effective and fit around teachers' lives and work. The demand for professional development will never be met by in person training opportunities and I see online and peer networks as the way forward. - roger.blamire roger.blamire Feb 11, 2015 Agree but wrapped round these MOOCs for teachers must be strong well supported peer-networks as it is people who lead change. No amount of content on line will do this unless people are motivated to action. - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 22, 2015

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

  • The European Schoolnet Academy (http://www.europeanschoolnetacademy.eu) was established in 2014 and provides a range of free online courses for teachers, e.g. games, coding, key competences, 1:1 computing. Uptake and feedback has been encouraging; teachers in Europe seem to like this format. - roger.blamire roger.blamire Feb 11, 2015
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