Massive online open courses, or MOOCs, are a convenient and innovative means of taking courses online. MOOCs are emerging a means of accessing online educational tools in a free or inexpensive format. MOOCs offer interested individuals access to limitless knowledge resources therefore is not surprising that many current and prospective students want to know: What is MOOC?

What is MOOC?

MOOC stands for one of two phrases: massive online open courses or massive open online courses. MOOC courses often do not charge online tuition and are often made available to tens of thousands of students. Typical MOOCs are Internet based, taught in the form of video lectures, and rely on social media features such as posting questions and comments to reach the large number of students enrolled. MOOC students can work together on projects and they mark each other’s assignments.

Massive online open courses are now offered by many universities that may previously have been financially or physically inaccessible to many students, and are opening new doors in the education world. A massive open online course at a leading United States university, for example, could provide quality higher education for a broad range of students, from those who have full-time career or family responsibilities, to international and geographically distant students, to local students for whom the full-time university tuition may not accommodate their financial circumstances.

Exploring MOOC Courses

Massive online open courses are still in the initial stages of their implementation in higher education, and as such the course selection may be limited. Nonetheless, they are catching on fast and in leading universities: the schools currently offering MOOC courses include Stanford, Duke, Harvard, UCLA, UC Berkeley, MIT, Yale, and Carnegie Mellon (BDPA Detroit)i. Courses are typically taken through a university’s dedicated MOOC site, MOOC RSS feeds, or Apple’s free app iTunesU.av

The nature of MOOC courses—online and therefore only virtually interactional—might be better options for individuals who are comfortable working remotely. Statistics on MOOC courses reflect the challenges of taking such a class, rarely exhibiting more than a 15 percent completion rate. When choosing a massive open online course, be sure that it is in a subject that is highly interesting to you to ensure your success and motivation in the classii. MOOCs have the potential to support many students in their academic and professional careers, and many schools are working to establish accreditation standards to set the stage for them to offer MOOCs that might count toward earning a certificate or graduate degree online.

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