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A critical look at MOOCs

TitleA critical look at MOOCs
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsSpector, M. J.
EditorsJemni, M., Kinshuk, & Khribi M. K.
PublisherOpen education: From OERs to MOOCs
Series TitleLecture Notes in Educational Technology
Date Published08/2016
Secondary PublisherSpringer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg
ISBNeBook 978-3-662-52925-6
ISBN NumberHardcover 978-3-662-52923-2
Keywordsdistance education, dynamic feedback, formative feedback, MOOCs

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are offered online to anyone who registers. There are no requirements to register and for those not wishing to receive course credit or a certificate indicating successful completion, there are no charges to enroll. As a result, enrollments can reach into the thousands. MOOCs are a recent twenty-first century phenomenon that emerged from the open educational resources movement and a course entitled “Connectivism and Connective Knowledge” offered in 2008 by George Siemens and Stephen Downes. There were a small number of students at the University of Manitoba who paid tuition and several thousand others who simply participated in the online course environment at no cost. Given the subject (connectivism) of that early MOOC and the fact that those not paying were there as part of an extended community gathered around the subject of the course, it is reasonable to conclude that the ‘C’ in MOOC stood for ‘course’ for registered participants and ‘community’ for those not registered. Since 2008, MOOCs have appeared in many places and have taken many forms. This chapter examines the growth of MOOCs and the roles that they can play in the context of learning and instruction. The argument herein is that it is a mistake to consider current MOOCs to be a new form of a distance learning course. Rather, current MOOCs should be viewed and evaluated not as courses but as communities of subject-specific participants.


© 2016 Springer International Publishing AG

Refereed DesignationRefereed
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