Monday, September 17, 2012

The World According to MOOC's

The World According to MOOC's

MOOC stands for “Massive Open Online Course.”

The best known supplier of MOOC courses today is Coursera: . The courses are mostly synchronous meaning they start and stop at specific dates but the information is archived for those who have enrolled in them after the courses close. They seem to be very up-to-date and originate from major universities such as the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Michigan and Stanford. More of them are being rolled out daily. As of today – September 17, 2012 – there are 124 choices.
Here's more information about the emerging World of MOOC's from Coursera's own website introduction:

About Coursera [Started at Stanford]

We are a social entrepreneurship company [founded by computer science professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller from Stanford University] that partners with the top universities in the world to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free. We envision a future where the top universities are educating not only thousands of students, but millions. Our technology enables the best professors to teach tens or hundreds of thousands of students.

Through this, we hope to give everyone access to the world-class education that has so far been available only to a select few. We want to empower people with education that will improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the communities they live in.

Our Courses

Classes offered on Coursera are designed to help you master the material. When you take one of our classes, you will watch lectures taught by world-class professors, learn at your own pace, test your knowledge, and reinforce concepts through interactive exercises. When you join one of our classes, you'll also join a global community of thousands of students learning alongside you. We know that your life is busy, and that you have many commitments on your time. Thus, our courses are designed based on sound pedagogical foundations, to help you master new concepts quickly and effectively. Key ideas include mastery learning, to make sure that you have multiple attempts to demonstrate your new knowledge; using interactivity, to ensure student engagement and to assist long-term retention; and providing frequent feedback, so that you can monitor your own progress, and know when you've really mastered the material.

We offer courses in a wide range of topics spanning the Humanities, Medicine, Biology, Social Sciences, Mathematics, Business, Computer Science, and many others. Whether you're looking to improve your resume, advance your career, or just learn more and expand your knowledge, we hope there will be multiple courses that you find interesting.

More Background on MOOC's:
Here's the link to a very informative recent commentary on MOOC's from “The Chronicle of Higher Education”

More to come:

The huge game-changer question for us all is, “Do MOOC's provide more opportunities than challenges to the evolution of qualitative, global higher education?”

Stay tuned there will be much more on this subject in later installments.

John Freed, Ph.D.
Brandman University

POST NOTE: Leigh Ann Wilson added this link about the MOOC demographics: .

NPR Update on Coursera from Sept. 30, 2012:

Very interesting follow-up on the first round of Coursera courses.

John Freed, Ph.D 
Associate Professor of Humanities/Liberal Studies
Brandman University
a member of the Chapman University System

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, John. You ask an excellent question, but I think it's too early to tell. I guess a lot depends on how you define "opportunities" and "challenges." My initial response was, "Yes, for the MOOC student, MOOCs definitely provide more educational opportunities than challenges." But then, what kind of opportunities? Will completing MOOCs lead to some sort of official recognition of achievement --a graduation, a degree, or a certificate? How will future employers look upon a MOOC completion (or MOOC degree) on a resume? But is employment the only way to measure the worth of an education?

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but these questions don't seem to have answers right now, as far as MOOCs are concerned. And because of that, I would say that more traditional programs of higher education are not threatened at the moment...which isn't to say that they could be.

    But, really, I think MOOCs and more traditional programs are not mutually exclusive, and can work together to present more educational opportunities that result in the evolution of qualitative, global higher education. How that can or will be done remains to be seen, of course, and will require innovation from both parties.

    (Btw, I couldn't get the link at the end to work --leads to me an Outlook log in page?).