About Massive Open Online Courses

How much do you know about Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)? Dave Cormier has put together a short video that explains what they are and how they work:

Basically, a MOOC is a way of learning online outside of an institution-based environment. Learners often collaborate together via social media over a set period of time and participate in learning activities in an open environment that anyone can join for free Sometimes there is an option to pay a fee for course credit, but participation itself is free.

Learning through collaboration and interaction with others is a well established best practice in online learning; this is something that online courses have been doing through asynchronous discussion forums for over a decade. Taking the work outside of a university-based LMS setting, however, is a more recent innovation that could have an impact over the way educators think of e-Learning for years to come.

Have you ever participated in a MOOC? Tell us in the comments!

Via pontydysgu

About Anne McKinney

Anne McKinney is an eLearning Specialist for CITES Academic Technology Services and the College of Business at the University of Illinois.
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2 Responses to About Massive Open Online Courses

  1. Jason Mock says:

    I’ve been very intrigued by the concept for a while, probably because I’m too cheap to pay for anything and was attracted by the notion of “free”… I did sign-up for one of Dave and George’s first MOOC about three years ago, after hearing about it on EdTechTalk. I was impressed with the organization of the course and quickly learned (and now apply daily) that it’s because even the slightest room for misinterpretation about any detail will quickly lead to a multitude of emails asking for clarification. I didn’t stay in the course very long, due to other pressures on my time, which leads to my only other observation from a student’s perspective: when you pay for something, you (obviously) have a higher investment into that experience and are more likely to take it seriously. For me, since it was free and so massive that no one would notice me just silently ignoring the course, I lacked some of the motivation those other pressures may have given me to stay in the course. I suspect the drop-out rate of a MOOC is much higher than a more traditional course.

    • amckinn says:

      This is an issue that I’ve run into as well. For a couple years I taught a two- / three-week modular workshop on online pedagogy to faculty and doctoral students through a consortium for library and information science faculty. Enthusiasm and engagement were always high during the first week, but as soon as people’s other schedules got busy, the no-charge, no-credit workshop was the first thing they dropped. Without a strong enough internal motivation to learn, it’s not easy for most people to participate in a MOOC.

      Maybe the course topic is the most crucial determinant — if the course is about effective strategies for playing a favorite game, for example, a certain section of the population might be more likely to stay active…? I’ve also been playing around with spaceded.com, however, which might be another alternative. It’s not collaborative the way the video describes MOOCs, but with just one or two questions a day, it’s a lot easier to budget the time for one of their courses.

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