What the heck is a MOOC?


If you’ve been reading my posts, you’ll know that I used to play Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs, or just MMO’s).  But what in the heck is a MOOC?

I was first introduced to the term last October, immediately following the course I’d taken on course design.  One of my fellow learners was a guest blogger on a corporate blog the following week.  The topic was MOOCs.

MOOC stands for Massively Open Online Course, and they are the latest trend in education.  I’ve already written about participant centered training, and, on the surface, the MOOC would be the ultimate in PCT.

Here’s another fun view of what a MOOC is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eW3gMGqcZQc

By and large, MOOCs are free, and consist primarily of presentations on weekly topics, usually delivered via Webinar, and supplemented by social media (FaceBook, Twitter, etc.), but participants are expected to make the course their own and take charge of their own learning: researching, Googling, diving into the deep end.  Reporting these efforts could be done via discussion groups and blogs.

The learning material is aggregated by the learning community and made available on a Web page or other central point of online distribution.  The link to Wikipedia (above) will provide more information regarding MOOCs and some examples, including Change.MOOC.ca, the MOOC that my colleague was participating in this past year.

I’ve been following her since on her learning blog: Connecting the Dots.

By the time I found out about MOOCs and Change.MOOC.ca, several weeks and learning topics had already elapsed.  I have a personal preference for beginning at the beginning and work demands are such that I would feel extremely uncomfortable putting myself into the MOOC arena now.

I can always look forward to participating in one next year.

Some other thoughts on MOOCs:

Does the idea of a MOOC interest you?

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4 thoughts on “What the heck is a MOOC?

  1. Great concept. Checked a few courses out — everything from technical topics to literature to how to drive a stick shift! LIke you, I’m a bit hesitant to delve into one of these unless I’ve got the time to devote to it. But thanks for sharing this.

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  2. They do look awsome, don’t they? Then I think with blogging, writing, and critiquing, what would I sacrifice to participate? I’ve been longingly checking out the PhD in Distance Ed from Athabasca U too … I am entitled to take an “administrative leave,” unpaid, of course, to attend school, but I couldn’t afford tuition and a whole year without an income. Ultimately, I’ve prioritized my writing and I’m so good with that decision. Interesting or not, MOOCs and doctorates will have to wait.
    Thanks for your comment 🙂

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  3. It’s true; a little knowledge never hurt anyone, and besides, you never know where the good ideas are going to come from next. It’s great that you are writing about MOOC and other types of open source learning Melanie. I’ve been a big advocate of participatory courses for years.

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    • Thanks for commenting Veronica!
      I’m a bit of a learning addict, but I find that the world of SoMe (Social Media) is so like a MOOC that I can manage. I want a lecture, I go to TED. I want to have a scintilating conversation with like-minded tweeps, I head for Twitter. I want to share these gems of thought I find, I head to FB or G+, and if I want to expose something about myself or my work, I head to my blog.
      Do I really need that piece of paper? Part of me still thinks I do, but I’m happy doing what I’m doing. In the end, that’s more important 🙂

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