Let’s get some vocabulary straight first.
MOOC stands for Massive Online Open Course.
“Massive” stands for the scale, a MOOC is open to an indefinite amount of students, and that can mean a positively huge amount. At this point the number of students registered for the EDCMOOC has reached the 36 000 mark, and counting. Instructors cannot possibly keep track of the amount of interactions and content produced by tens of thousands of students, so students organize themselves, turning a myriad of social platforms into their learning environment.
Read more on learning in a MOOC:
- 25 Tips to Make the Most of a MOOC
“Online” means that the courseware is online and the learning is meant to be done online. It’s not just open courseware that belongs to a real-life course, the content is structured for online use.
- There are several big providers of free MOOCs:
- Coursera (for-profit start-up by professors from Stanford),
- edX (nonprofit start-up from Harvard and the MIT),
- Khan Academy,
“Open” says that there is no pay wall, registration process or other impediment to entering the course. Open also refers to a certain absence of a fixed path or strong guidance from an all-seeing, all-knowing teacher. Descriptions that pop up are “edupunk”, or “DIY learning”. It is “open” as in open door, but also as in open source.
- But is the “open-nes” and massiveness of MOOCs a revolution in itself? This article on Radar (O’Reilly) puts that in perspective. Andy Oram: The MOOC movement is not an indicator of educational evolution. MOOCs get the attention, but DIY and peer-to-peer exchange are more fertile grounds for development
The acronym rings a bell, “MOOC” makes me think of “MUD” (Multi-User Dungeon, multiplayer real-time virtual world) and “MOO” (MUD object-oriented), but it’s a whole other animal. Or not?