What are Massive Open Online Courses?


Coined in 2008 by Stephen Downes and George Siemens, massively open online courses (MOOC) are conceptualized as the evolution of networked learning. MOOCs have not yet achieved their envisioned potential, but early experiments are promising. The essence of a MOOC is that it is a web courses that people can take from anywhere across the world, with potentially thousands of participants. The basis of each MOOC is an expansive and diverse set of content, contributed by a variety of experts, educators, and instructors in a specific field, and then aggregated into a central repository, such as web site. What makes this content set especially unique is that it is “remixed” -- the materials are not necessarily designed to go together but become associated with each other through the MOOC. A key component of the original vision is that all course materials and the course itself are open source and free -- with the door left open for a fee if a participant taking the course wishes university credit be transcripted for the work. A second key element is that the structure of MOOCs be minimalist, so as to allow participants to design their own learning path based upon whatever specific knowledge or skill they want to gain. The point is that participants can control how, where, and when they learn. Typically, the only defined elements of MOOCs are assignments in the form of presentations or discourse incited by discussion questions, where thousands of participants exchange ideas and responses in an online forum.


INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • In K12/sixth form college, many students have the skills and the discipline to be able to use MOOC:s for learning. Many students however are in dire need of continuous teacher interaction. One possible way forward would be MOOC:s for well-defined and limited parts of national courses that would allow some students to progress in their own time and according to their ability, while others can use the MOOC as a platform for classroom based and teacher aided learning. - ylva.pettersson ylva.pettersson Dec 6, 2014
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(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative expression?

  • In K12/sixth form I perceive the greatest potential to be student-developed MOOC:s based on Open Content where students can interact and be both teachers and learners. - ylva.pettersson ylva.pettersson Dec 6, 2014
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • This is a MOOC that is being created by students, meant to be used by students. It also allows all and any to alter, add, use and partake so it combines in a new way the idea of the MOOC with the Open Content. Since the platform is globally connected, it is working towards an already established audience using already developed technical solutions. - ylva.pettersson ylva.pettersson Dec 6, 2014
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