MOOCs go mainstream
September 13, 2013 § Leave a comment
Now it’s official. MOOCs are becoming so popular that even Oxford has included the acronym on its dictionaries. Defined as “a course of study made available over the Internet without charge to a very large number of people”, MOOCs can be more than that, as I mentioned here in many posts. Their flexibility allows students to explore the content any time they want and the possibility to study within a network enable new forms of pedagogy, learning experiences and connections.
The school year has barely started, but start-ups and organizations such as Coursera and edX, are announcing improvements every day. Last week, the University of Amsterdam launched its official page on Coursera. On January 2014 we can probably meet there if you’re also enrolled in the UvA MOOC right now. I like how UvA was first organized and structured independently (as it is again in this second version), but I believe the University will reach many more students through Coursera. In addition, it will be part of a global MOOC network and will receive all necessary support from Coursera team. Kudos for the UvA team!
Yesterday I notice something new on Coursera as well. I was enrolled in one of the MOOCs offered by University of California in San Francisco (UCSF) and they sent me an e-mail offering some benefits, which included travel discounts, access to online campus store, international events and even an invitation to join a global online game experience. Their goal, as it seems, is to include MOOC students in the University Community and perhaps attract monetization through marketing. I don’t know to what extent these benefits will be available, but I thought this is actually a very nice idea. It doesn’t matter if I paid tuition at UCSF (which I didn’t), but I will still have the chance to integrate their community somehow.
Another important highlight happened last week, when Google (who else could be?) and edX reveled their partnership through mooc.org, a new domain which will go live next year. Open source, the website will be a platform for universities and individuals to build and host their courses. About this new announcement, writer Anya Kamenetz highlights exactly the point I question on my thesis: “Are MOOCs best viewed as a supplement for traditional college students, continuing education credits for adult learners, or a full degree program for learners in the developing world?”. Our answers are quite the same: MOOCs can reach everyone, and maybe more. You can read her article here.
I believe the popularity of MOOCs will continue and they will help many students to reach their goals, intellectual, professional and maybe even personal. What about you? What do you expect when you enroll in a MOOC?