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Overview

A Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is an online distance learning course that is designed for large number of partition with open access through the web for geographically dispersed students. Many MOOCs provide interactive user forums to support community interactions among students, professors, and teaching assistants (TAs) but also focuses on traditional courses such as readings, filmed lectures, problem sets, etc.

They are recent and widely researched development in distance education that was introduced in 2008 and rose as a popular mode of learning by 2012.

An MOOC is similar to college or university courses, or maybe less structured. MOOCs provide education that may enable certification, employment or further studies.

It can be difficult to make out if a course is MOOC or not, but there are few features that are typically essential for a course to be considered an MOOC:

Course

It should have some learning objectives to be accomplished by students after certain activities within allotted time. It should also conduct some exams or quizzes to assess the knowledge attained by students. And there should be some kind of interaction between student-student and student-teacher.

Open

Open has several meanings in MOOCs. On one hand, the course should be open to everyone and should not require some pre-requisites like qualification or performance in earlier studies. On the other hand, the access to educational resources such as videos, lecture notes should be free. Open is also often taken as un-closed learning platform as educational resources are hosted in different places like websites, wikis, blogs or multimedia sources. Lastly, “open” is also interpreted as the course that makes use, extensively, of open content, and in turn, content generated in due course is also published openly so it can be referred by others.

Online

The course is done by remotely using the internet and does not require physical attendance at a classroom. This feature is crucial because it enables anyone from any part of the world, with internet connection, to participate in these courses.

Massive

It should allow access to a very large number of students, much larger than a traditional online course or face-to-face class. The course should be designed to accept changes in the number of students in several orders of degree, for example, going from 1,000 to 100,000 students, without a major problem or change in operation.

Classification of MOOCs

At first, MOOCs had a deep collaborative and strong philosophy (cMOOCs), but this philosophy, later did evolve to a commercial sense (xMOOCs).

  1. cMOOC

A cMOOC emphasizes the connective philosophy: it is a social platform for cooperative building and sharing knowledge within a community of people.

  1. xMOOC

An xMOOC relies more on a traditional model of education that is based on lectures recorded on videos or readings, which are usually well-financed.

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