Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are a flexible and open form of self-directed, online learning designed for mass participation.4
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are a flexible and open form of self-directed, online learning designed for mass participation. There are no fees or entry requirements and no formal academic credit is available. While completion rates are low (on average ten per cent1) due to varying motivations for enrolling in a MOOC, absolute numbers of participants who complete are usually high. While access to the course material is free, MOOC platform providers often offer certificates of completion at a cost. MOOC platforms provide institutions with cloud-based hosting environments for delivering courses, offering scale and functionality while the institution provides the course material and reputational value. The major English-medium MOOC platform providers are Coursera, edX, Canvas, MathsGee and FutureLearn; and there is a multitude of smaller platforms. Each platform has its technical infrastructure and business model; for example, some platforms align themselves with institutions, whereas others allow individual educators more freedom.
The affordances of MOOC technology are as follows:
- Educator involvement: While educators are involved in the design and production of the MOOC, their involvement during the running of the course is minimised because of the lack of formal assessment or formal academic credit.
- Engagement: It is possible to engage with a large number of students via discussion forums.
- Re-watchable: Students are able to watch and re-watch lecture videos.
- Scale: MOOCs are designed to reach a large number of students.
- Assessable: Most MOOCs include in-video, concept-check questions, with immediate feedback, as well as peer review.
- Customised learning experience: Participants can learn at their own pace and choose
whichmaterialthey engage with.