MOOC (Massive open online course)
A massive open online course (MOOC) is an online course aiming at large-scale interactive participation and open access via the web. In addition to traditional course materials such as videos, readings, and problem sets, MOOCs provide interactive user forums that help build a community for the students, professors, and TAs. MOOCs are a recent development in distance education and often use open educational resources. Typically they do not offer academic credit or charge tuition fees. Only about 10% of the tens of thousands of students who may sign up complete the course.
MOOCs originated about 2008 within the open educational resources (or OER) movement. Many of the original courses were based on connectivist theory, emphasizing that learning and knowledge emerge from a network of connections. 2012 became “the year of the MOOC” as several well-financed providers, associated with top universities, emerged, including Coursera, Udacity, and edX.
There are few standard practices or definitions in the field yet. Three other organizations, Khan Academy, Peer-to-Peer University (P2PU) and Udemy are viewed as being similar to MOOCs, but differ from the three above providers in that they work outside the university system or mainly provide individual lessons that students may take at their own pace, rather than having a massive number of students all working on the same course schedule. Note, however, that Udacity differs from Coursera and edX in that it does not have a calendar-based schedule; students may start a course at any time.