Massive Open Online Courses, MOOCs, are quality courses held by good professors and offered by prestigious universities across the globe. Anyone may participate - and they do!
There are several online platforms where the universities can publish their MOOCs. Among the largest are Coursera, Udemy, Udacity, EdX and FutureLearn. Most students participating in these courses do so in the quest for knowledge, but some of the courses are also available in a paid version where you also get credits. An overview over MOOCs created by Norwegian institutions is available at mooc.no.
Barring actually creating your own MOOC, there can be huge benefits from taking a class - or even using a MOOC as a part of the learning activities for your students, to supplement a class or a program. A course on the MOOC platforms can be viewed as an open learning resource, often containing video lectures from experts in the field, tests, discussion forums and hand-ins.
Figures show that few actually finish an entire MOOC program. Discussions in the field concern whether the MOOC as a model encourage participants to stop by to learn exactly what they need, instead of following an entire course. Most MOOC participants are people with a higher education degree.
Not all MOOCs are created by educational institutions, however. For example Google is known to sponsor and develop MOOCs, among other topics on brand new technology (such as Tensorflow), that will take time before is a part of ordinary programmes in higher education.
Many institutions in higher education that have started offering MOOCs, have not formerly had any online courses in their portfolio. The MOOC has therefore been a doorway for many institutions to learn more about the opportunities technology can give for teaching and learning. At BI we have offered online courses since 1990, and the MOOC has therefore not been as necessary for our learning curve as for some of our competitors.
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