What is a MOOC?

Posted by Hugh on August 24, 2015 in ePortfolio |

A massive open online course (MOOC) is an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web. In addition to traditional course materials such as filmed lectures, readings, and problem sets, many MOOCs provide interactive user forums to support community interactions between students teachers.

MOOCs are a recent and widely researched development in distance education[1] which was first introduced in 2008 and emerged as a popular mode of learning in 2012.[2][3]

Early MOOCs often emphasized open-access features, such as open licensing of content, structure and learning goals, to promote the reuse and remixing of resources. Some later MOOCs use closed licenses for their course materials while maintaining free access for students.[4][5][6][7] Robert Zemsky (2014) argues that they have passed their peak: “They came; they conquered very little; and now they face substantially diminished prospects.”[8]

2012 became “the year of the MOOC” as several well-financed providers, associated with top universities, emerged, including Coursera, Udacity, and edX.[2][33] Dennis Yang, President of MOOC provider Udemy has suggested that MOOCs are in the midst of a hype cycle, with expectations undergoing a wild swing.[34] Dennis Yang, President of MOOC provider Udemy, later made the point in an article for the Huffington Post.[36]

Many universities scrambled to join in the “next big thing”, as did more established online education service providers such as Blackboard Inc, in what has been called a “stampede.” Dozens of universities in Canada, Mexico, Europe and Asia have announced partnerships with the large American MOOC providers.[37][38] By early 2013, questions emerged about whether academia was “MOOC’d out.”[34][39] This trend was later confirmed in continuing analysis.[40]

A range of other global MOOC providers have emerged.

This is a small list of providers and more can be found using an internet search engine.

Information on this post was taken from the MOOC Wikipedia page.


  1. Bozkurt, A., Akgun-Ozbek, E., Onrat-Yilmazer, S., Erdogdu, E., Ucar, H., Guler, E., Sezgin, S., Karadeniz, A., Sen, N., Goksel-Canbek, N., Dincer, G. D., Ari, S.,& Aydin, C. H. (2015). Trends in Distance Education Research: A Content Analysis of Journals 2009-2013. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 16(1),330-363.https://www.academia.edu/11056576/Trends_in_Distance_Education_Research_A_Content_Analysis_of_Journals_2009-2013
  2. Pappano, Laura. “The Year of the MOOC”. The New York Times. Retrieved18 April 2014.
  3. Lewin, Tamar (20 February 2013). “Universities Abroad Join Partnerships on the Web”. New York Times. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
  4. Wiley, David. “The MOOC Misnomer“. July 2012
  5. Cheverie, Joan. “MOOCs an Intellectual Property: Ownership and Use Rights”. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  6. David F Carr (20 August 2013). “Udacity hedges on open licensing for MOOCs”. Information Week. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  7. P. Adamopoulos, “What Makes a Great MOOC? An Interdisciplinary Analysis of Student Retention in Online Courses”, ICIS 2013 Proceedings (2013) pp. 1–21 in AIS Electronic Library (AISeL)
  8. Robert Zemsky, “With a MOOC MOOC here and a MOOC MOOC there, here a MOOC, there a MOOC, everywhere a MOOC MOOC,” Journal of General Education (2014) 63#4 pp. 237-243 in JSTOR
  9. Saettler, L. Paul (1968). A History of Instructional Technology. New York: McGraw Hill. ISBN 0070544107.
  10. “MOOCs and Open Education Timeline (updated 2015)”.
  11. Downes, Stephen (2008). “CCK08 – The Distributed Course”. The MOOC Guide. Retrieved 11 September 2013.
  12. Yan, Li; Powell, Stephen; Olivier, Bill (2014). “Beyond MOOCs: Sustainable Online Learning in Institutions”. Cetis publications. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  13. Parr, Chris (17 October 2013). “Mooc creators criticise courses’ lack of creativity”. Times Higher Education. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  14. Dave Cormier (18 April 2013). [Video on YouTube Attention les MOOC!?! Mois de la pédagogie universitaire]. University of Prince Edward Island.
  15. Cormier, Dave (2 October 2008). “The CCK08 MOOC – Connectivism course, 1/4 way”. Dave’s Educational Blog. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
  16. Kolowich, Steve (April 24, 2012). “Proto-MOOC Stays the Course”. Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  17. Masters, Ken (2011). “A brief guide to understanding MOOCs”. The Internet Journal of Medical Education 1 (Num. 2).
  18. The College of St. Scholastica, “Massive Open Online Courses“, (2012)
  19. Yuan, Li, and Stephen Powell. MOOCs and Open Education: Implications for Higher Education White Paper. University of Bolton: CETIS, 2013. pp. 7–8.
  20. “What You Need to Know About MOOCs”. Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 14 March 2013.
  21. “Open Education for a global economy”.
  22. Booker, Ellis (30 January 2013). “Early MOOC Takes A Different Path”.Information Week. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  23. Bornstein, David (11 July 2012). “Open Education For A Global Economy”. New York Times. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  24. “Partnership Model for Entrepreneurial Innovation in Open Online Learning”.
  25. Siemens, George. “MOOCs are really a platform”. Elearnspace. Retrieved2012-12-09.
  26. Downes, Stephen “‘Connectivism’ and Connective Knowledge”, Huffpost Education, 5 January 2011, accessed 27 July 2011
  27. Kop, Rita “The challenges to connectivist learning on open online networks: Learning experiences during a massive open online course”, International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, Volume 12, Number 3, 2011, accessed 22 November 2011
  28. Bell, Frances “Connectivism: Its Place in Theory-Informed Research and Innovation in Technology-Enabled Learning”, International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, Volume 12, Number 3, 2011, accessed 31 July 2011
  29. Downes, Stephen. “Learning networks and connective knowledge”, Instructional Technology Forum, 2006, accessed 31 July 2011
  30. [Video on YouTube “George Siemens on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)”]. YouTube. Retrieved 2012-09-18.
  31. Dialogue and Connectivism: A New Approach to Understanding and Promoting Dialogue-Rich Networked Learning [1] Andrew Ravenscroft International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning Vol. 12.3 March – 2011, Learning Technology Research Institute (LTRI), London Metropolitan University, UK
  32. S.F. John Mak, R. Williams, and J. Mackness, Blogs and Forums as Communication and Learning Tools in a MOOC, Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Networked Learning (2010)
  33. Smith, Lindsey “5 education providers offering MOOCs now or in the future“. 31 July 2012.
  34. Yang, Dennis (14 March 2013). “Are We MOOC’d Out?”. Huffington Post. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
  35. [Video on YouTube “SXSWedu 2013 – MOOCS: Hype or Hope?”]. SXSWedu.
  36. Yang, Dennis. “Are We MOOC’d Out?”. Huffington Post.
  37. Tamar Lewin (20 February 2013). “Universities Abroad Join Partnerships on the Web”. The New York Times. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
  38. Laura Pappano. The Year of the MOOC – The New York Times. 2 November 2012
  39. Skapinker, Michael (20 March 2013). “Open web courses are massively overhyped”. Financial Times. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
  40. The MOOC Hype Fades Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved March 6, 2015.”

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