A massive open online course (MOOC) is a type of online course aimed at large-scale participation and open access via the web. MOOCs are a recent development in the area of distance education, and a progression of the kind of open education ideals suggested by open educational resources.
Though the design of and participation in a MOOC may be similar to college or university courses, MOOCs typically do not offer credits awarded to paying students at schools. However, assessment of learning may be done for certification.
MOOCs originated from within the open educational resources movement and connectivist roots. More recently, a number of MOOC-type projects have emerged independently, such as Coursera, Udacity, and edX. The prominence of these projects’ founders, contributing institutions, and financial investment helped MOOCs gain significant public attention in 2012. Some of the attention behind these new MOOCs center on making e-learning more scalable either sustainable or profitable.
While there is no commonly accepted definition of a MOOC, two key features seem prevalent:
Open access. MOOC participants do not need to be a registered student in a school to « take » a MOOC, and are not required to pay a fee.
Scalability. Many traditional courses depend upon a small ratio of students to teacher, but the « massive » in MOOC suggests that the course is designed to support an indefinite number of participants.
Other features associated with early MOOCs, such as open licensing of content, open structure and learning goals, community-centeredness, etc. may not be present in all MOOC projects.
See on en.wikipedia.org