If you haven’t already heard: MOOCs are the next big thing in education. So what are they? The acronym stands for Massive Open Online Courses. MOOCs don’t require registration or tuition fees and students can sign-up no matter where they live or what their schedules look like. And unlike traditional college courses, there are no classroom caps. With electronic grading, professors can reach an unlimited number of students without doing more work.
The openness and scalability of MOOCs signal a refreshing change for higher education. In fact, enthusiasm for MOOCs has even spread to the nation’s most exclusive universities–MIT, Columbia and Brown now offer free coursework online. So far, MOOCs don’t satisfy formal college credit requirements, but they are used to qualify students and professionals for certification. And there are no consequences to failing a free online course. With less to lose, students of MOOCs might just more to gain.
It’s too early to tell how MOOCs will change education, but the future of open online courses is looking very good. Check out the graphic below to see why MOOCs are so important:
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