Explaining the MOOC Phenomenon Sweeping Through Higher Education

MOOC have been gaining a lot of renown over the past few months, and many higher education institutions have begun to incorporate them into their every day classes. Some have called “MOOC” a “buzzword” within the field of higher education, and if you don’t already know all about it, it’s time to get an update on how these 4 words are going to change the world as we know it.

Massive Open Online Courses

MOOC stand for Massive Open Online Courses and that is just what they are; courses being offered to students all over the world through the medium of the internet. The aim of these courses is the same, while the methods of delivery might vary; to educate the masses and reach out to students no matter where they live or what economic bracket they fall into. Many of these courses are being offered for free, and this means that students no longer have to pay for the education that they so rightly deserve.

Stepping Up to the Big Leagues

For those that assume that the MOOC is a passing fad – think again. With platforms such as Coursera partnering with institutions ranging from Princeton to Stanford, it seems that these courses are here to stay. Coursera currently has over 1 million students signed up for the array of courses that it has to offer, while the Khan Academy boasts over 10 million subscribers; yes, when they say “Massive” Open Online Courses, they meant it.

Experimenting with Education

While millions of students around the world are signing up for the courses that are on offer, universities are doing what they do best; experimenting. While the platforms are educating students, universities are signing up so that they can determine whether they are delivering effective lectures online, whether students are actually able to absorb the knowledge they receive and whether any changes need to be made to the manner in which the courses are presented.

What the Future Holds

While there might be a lot of buzz around the term MOOC, the educational world is still waiting with baited breath to find out how this big “experiment” is going to go. Universities are open to adapting the manner in which they approach education, and this is already becoming evident in classes around the country where online lectures are being used to supplement land based classes. Instead of lecturers spending hours lecturing in class, they are asking students to watch the appropriate videos online and then come to class ready to discuss what they have learned. The combination of online and land based learning seems to be very effective within the institutions in which it is being used, and this is only the beginning.

In terms of education and development, stagnation is akin to death, and this means that universities need to constantly strive to improve the way in which education is approached. The internet has slowly become a fertile ground for education over the past few decades; the MOOC have simply planted the first few seeds.