Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)

MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course and are part of the e-learning educational approach.

MOOC poster mathplourdeNurses and nurse educators are likely to have experienced some form of learning management system such as Blackboard, Canvas, Moodle or Desire2Learn in the workplace or higher education setting. Learning management systems range from systems for managing workplace training to educational online or blended/hybrid higher education courses. Courses may have varied in cost, accessibility and number of participants.

A MOOC uses a platform to encourage knowledge in the sharing or “the network” rather than an oracle or sage on the stage approach where one person is the fountain of knowledge. A MOOC therefore allows collaboration and contribution from all and provides “connectivism” (Downes, 2016). Use of free web based systems allows massive scalability rather than using one server and opens up participation. 

xMOOC is instructor led, videos and have discussion forums for sharing ideas and discuss learning. Although learning can be at the individual’s own pace, there is still assessment to measure learning. xMOOC therefore follow a constructivist approach to education (Downes, 2016). Examples of xMOOC’s providers are Coursera, Linda, Khan Academy, Udacity and edX.

Connectivist MOOC (cMOOC) is networked learning where learning and sharing occur. The traditional approach of teacher is removed and everyone becomes a collaborator and any teachers become facilitators of learning. The idea of the cMOOC aims to mirror the web, the openness, accessibility, flexibility and how we as individuals currently interact, communicate and collaborate on the web, especially social media platforms. Social learning theory relates to the connectivism approach (Downes, 2016).

MOOC design by Stephen Downes
MOOC design by Stephen Downes

Some Stats & The Future for MOOCs

Although the numbers enrolling may be in impressive, those actually finishing the course may be below 7% (Parr, 2013).

Although MOOC’s are impacting on Universities, and some prominent ones at that. The predicted impact of MOOC’s to transform education has not quite occurred at the levels expected, yet (Bothwell & Havergal, 2016).

What is a MOOC?

Anant Agarwal: Why massively open online courses (still) matter



Downes, S. (2016) Knowledge, Learning, Community 

Bothwell, E. & Havergal, C. (2016) Moocs Can Transform Education- but not yet. Times Higher Education.

Parr, C. (2013) Mooc Completion ‘Rates Below 7%’. Times Higher Education.

Wikipedia (2016) Massive Open Online Course.