MOOCs- massive open online courses have brought a revolutionary change in the field of online learning. Thousands of students from all around the world can participate in these free interactive lectures and benefit from the vast pool of knowledge.
Since anybody with an internet connection can sign up, it is difficult for the faculty to respond to every student individually. Therefore the course design and the interaction activity are very important in determining its effectiveness. It is a mixture of education and social interaction or networking.
The emerging MOOC market
EdX, Coursera, Udacity, Udemy are some examples of companies that offer MOOCs to students around the globe. Coursera has collaborated with reputed universities such as California Institute of Technology, and University of Stanford, Princeton, Duke, Washington and many others to offer MOOCs. EdX too has combined with some of the best universities including Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard for the same reason.
Futurelearn is another such company that has collaborated with the universities of UK to offer MOOCs to students. It has been set up by UK’s Open University and will offer courses from the universities of Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, East Anglia, Exeter, Lancaster, Leeds, Southampton, St. Andrews, and Warwick, as well as King’s College London. A majority of these educational institutions belong to the Russell Group.
Course topics range from science, to fantasy and science fiction, electronics to machine learning, software services to computer programming as well as courses on finance, gamification, poetry: modern and contemporary and many more.
Rising popularity of MOOC
According to research, students that already have one or two degrees sign up for MOOCs. This was noticed in the students taking up MOOCs under University of Edinburgh. It announced the first UK MOOCs in July last year and saw 308,000 students from 167 different countries sign up for some of subjects, from an introduction to philosophy to the more advanced artificial intelligence planning. The completion rate was observed to be below 10% – this doesn’t matter, says Jeff Haywood, professor of education and technology. About 12% completed the university’s first batch of MOOCs. Many sign up to “window shop” or dip in and out, which is no bad thing, he adds. Source:
MOOCs help the students to gain further knowledge in their choice of subjects. Students taking up MOOCs are those who already have degrees, yet wish to learn more about certain topics. It also includes those individuals who just want to stay up to date with the latest developments take up MOOCs. MOOCs are designed keeping in mind the latest developments as well as the preferences of students in terms of topics that they want to learn more about. With video lectures, quizzes, projects and online discussions they provide a collaborative learning platform for the students where they can exchange their views and knowledge with thousands of others.
“This is the beginning of something – MOOCs are innovative and evolving,” says Alan Greenberg, director of education at video learning platform MediaCore, “Good MOOCs will be successful; the less good will fail miserably.”
Now that they have become quite successful, the question that arises is, if a full MOOC degree is expected to emerge. Every company wants to run the MOOC race and enter this dimension to tap its popularity. With the rapid popularity of online degrees and distance learning degrees, it would not be a surprise if MOOC degrees will start being offered by the companies.