MOOC: Opening the gates of knowledge to one and all

We are witnessing the digital revolution in every sphere our of life, including education. Its impact in the arena of higher education is undeniable, with the introduction of MOOC, often considered as a disruptive technology in higher educations. It’s a buzzword in the higher education circle and is attracting huge media attention. So, what is a MOOC?


MOOCimage-what it isMOOC is Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) which are offered on a network platform to anyone who has access to internet and is willing to learn. It’s a course in which hundreds of thousands of learners from various parts of the world participate in a structured, but distributed manner online. The term MOOC was coined by Dave Cromier of the University of Prince Island and Bryan Alexander of the National Institute for Technology Education to  the course on Connectivism and Connective Knowledge, popularly known as CCK08 after the initials of the course title and the year (2008) it was offered. The course was led by George Siemens of Athabasca University, Canada and Stephen Downes of National Research Council, Canada. 

The key aspect of MOOC, as Dave Cromier would emphasize, is connectivity and collaboration with others. Today, hundreds of MOOCs are offered by elite universities in the US and Europe. They are free, open to all and without formal accredit ions by MOOC providers.

However, it throws open the gates of knowledge to anyone, anytime and anywhere in the world. In fact, 2012 was named as the year of MOOC. It is growing in leaps and bounds. It is perceived as one of the most disruptive technology in higher education. Everyone is eagerly waiting to see what role MOOC will take in the future, especially in higher education. In any case, it has literally opened the gates of knowledge to everyone.

In the next few posts, I will trace its origin, characteristics and current trends.

Image Link: Dave Cromier defining MOOC

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