A few excerpts from The Massive Open Online Professor, by Stephen Carson and Jan Philipp Schmidt.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), a term coined by Dave Cormier and Bryan Alexander, are courses that
- Take place online
- Are typically free of charge
- Use learning materials can be modified, re-used, and distributed to others
- Reach thousands of learners at once
MIT, Harvard, Georgia Tech, Stanford are all in or getting on the bandwagon.
Not only is online learning beginning to scale massively, but it is also beginning to do so at almost zero marginal cost. The expense of adding an additional student in a campus setting remains relatively stable. In online learning, however, the cost of adding one more user is often so close to zero that it can be ignored. Even the issue that seems to resist low-cost scaling the most—meaningful assessment, certification and recognition of learning — is starting to change. The Stanford artificial intelligence course offered certificates for those who completed the course work. MIT announced it will set up a separate organization, called MITx , to offer certificates for online learners. The Mozilla Foundation , the MacArthur Foundation , Peer 2 Peer University , and others are hard at work on developing a system of portable online “badges” that would help learners to demonstrate and share evidence of what they have learned in informal or formal settings.