Behind Massive Open Online Courses

MOOC is the coolest buzzword on the learning education this year. It stands for Massive Open Online Course, and describes all the new initiatives where the participants are distributed and course materials also are dispersed across the web. The last months had witnessed an explosion of different learning platforms, like Coursera or Udacity. We’ve talked about them in different posts, since Khan Academy started as an early experiment of changing the rules of online education. Now, the monster has grown bigger and last month Coursera, with its 124 courses from 16 universities, hit the million students accross the world.

With some of the best universities behind the scenes of this online learning occupation, the pedagogical debate is openIs MOOC more than just a buzzword? And, regarding the evaluation of the students, what guarantees they offer? Some Universities are acknowledging this MOOC as official credits, or using them as a stating point for its own courses. Some other MOOC, as the Coursera’s Introduction to Sustainability, offers different paths to pass the class, so students with different perspectives and different goals can met their needs.

Some online learning is so smart, really brilliantly researched and designed. Some stinks. Just like face to face. But we have to understand the assumptions about and behind learning, not just the historical contingencies of the particular system of higher education we happen to inhabit in 2012.

Cathy Davidson, on Let’s Talk about MOOC

After offering the online course Power Searching with Google, last week Google released the technology it used to support the class as an open source online learning project. The Course Builder contains software and instructions to let anyone with basic technical expertise to create an online class. This are interesting times for open education and online learning, so we’ll stay tuned!

About this post

This post was first published on LibTechNotes, a blog from the Library team at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya to share our everyday findings, solutions and inspirations.