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Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)

Definition - What does Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) mean?

A massive open online course (MOOC) is an online course that has open access and interactive participation by means of the Web. MOOCs provide participants with course materials that are normally used in a conventional education setting - such as examples, lectures, videos, study materials and problem sets. Apart from this, MOOCs offer interactive user forums, which are extremely useful in building a community for students, TAs, and professors. Generally, MOOCs do not charge tuition fees or provide academic credit.

Techopedia explains Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)

MOOCs are a recent progression in distance education. The concept of MOOCs originated in 2008 among the open educational resources (OER) movement. Most of the initial courses were influenced by connectivist theory, which emphasizes that knowledge and learning arise from a network of relationships or connections. 2012 was a big year for MOOCs, as the industry attracted significant media buzz and venture capital interest. Numerous providers have emerged that are affiliated with top universities; some of these include edX, Coursera and Udacity.

Some of the advantages of a MOOC are as follows:
  • No tuition fees
  • Open access, exposing top level professors at schools that would othewise be unavailable to much of the World's population
  • Open courses for all interested, regardless of location, resulting in a more diverse student base
  • Collecting data via computer programs helps closely monitor the success and failure of each student. Traditional classroom participation cannot offer this type of precise information.
  • Some enthusiastic professors have found global sharing of knowledge more appealing. Many acknowledge that MOOCs help them reevaluate their pedagogical methods, while improving knowledge sharing.
One drawback is the low course completion rate. Some studies have shown that courses are completed by as few as 10 percent of the huge volume of students that join the MOOC.

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