Massive open online course
||This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2013)|
A massive open online course (MOOC) is an online course aimed at large-scale interactive participation and open access via the web. In addition to traditional course materials such as videos, readings, and problem sets, MOOCs provide interactive user forums that help build a community for the students, professors, and TAs. MOOCs are a recent development in distance education.
Features associated with early MOOCs, such as open licensing of content, open structure and learning goals, and connectivism may not be present in all MOOC projects, in particular with the 'openness' of many MOOCs being called into question.
|Dave Cormier on MOOCs|
|What is a MOOC?, 2010|
|Success in a MOOC, 2010|
Knowledge in a MOOC, 2010
|Welcome to the Brave New World of MOOCs, 2013|
Before the Digital Age, distance learning appeared in the form of written correspondence courses, broadcast courses, and early forms of e-learning. By the 1890s commercial and academic correspondence courses on specialized topics such as civil service tests and shorthand were promoted by door-to-door salesmen. Over 4 million US citizens – far more than attended traditional colleges – were enrolled in correspondence courses by the 1920s, covering hundreds of practical job-oriented topics, with a completion rate under 3%.
Radio was the exciting new technology of the 1920s, with millions buying sets and tuning in. Universities quickly staked out their wave lengths. By 1922, New York University operated its own radio station, with plans to broadcast practically all its subjects. Other schools joined in, including Columbia, Harvard, Kansas State, Ohio State, NYU, Purdue, Tufts, and the Universities of Akron, Arkansas, California, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Utah. Journalist Bruce Bliven pondered: "Is radio to become a chief arm of education? Will the classroom be abolished, and the child of the future be stuffed with facts as he sits at home or even as he walks about the streets with his portable receiving-set in his pocket?" The students read textbooks and listened to broadcast lectures, but attrition rates were very high, and there was no way to collect tuition. By 1940 radio courses had virtually disappeared.
Talking motion pictures was the technology of choice in the 1930s and 1940s. They were used to train millions of draftees during World War II in how to operate all sorts of equipment. Any number of universities had televised classes starting in the late 1940s at the University of Louisville. The Australian School of the Air has used two-way shortwave radio starting in 1951 to teach school children in remote locations. At many universities in the 1980s special classrooms were linked to a remote campus to provide closed-circuit video access to specialized advanced courses for small numbers of students, and many continue to operate. But this trend should not be disconnected from the more general and historical process of industrialization of education, in particular through teaching machines, industry of textbook and educational networks There are striking anticipations of the MOOC of the 2010s in the CBS TV series Sunrise Semester, broadcast from the 1950s to the 1980s with cooperation between CBS and NYU. Course credit was even offered for participants in those early video courses In 1994, James J. O'Donnell of the University of Pennsylvania taught an Internet seminar, using gopher and email, on the life and works of St. Augustine of Hippo, attracting over 500 participants from around the world. By 1994 hundreds of colleges had distance education undergraduate degree programs, and there were 150 leading to advanced degrees.
In April 2007, Irish-based ALISON (Advance Learning Interactive Systems Online) launched its massively free online courses for basic education and workplace skills training supported by advertising."
Early MOOCs 
MOOCs originated about 2008 within the open educational resources (or OER) movement. Many of the original courses were based on connectivist theory, emphasizing that learning and knowledge emerge from a network of connections. The term MOOC was coined in 2008 during a course called "Connectivism and Connective Knowledge" that was presented to 25 tuition-paying students in Extended Education at the University of Manitoba in addition to 2,300 other students from the general public who took the online class free of charge. All course content was available through RSS feeds, and learners could participate with their choice of tools: threaded discussions in Moodle, blog posts, Second Life, and synchronous online meetings. The term was coined by Dave Cormier of the University of Prince Edward Island, and Senior Research Fellow Bryan Alexander of the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education in response to the course designed and led by George Siemens of Athabasca University and Stephen Downes of the National Research Council (Canada).
Soon other independent MOOCs emerged. Jim Groom from The University of Mary Washington and Michael Branson Smith of York College, City University of New York, adopted this course structure and hosted their own MOOCs through several universities. Early MOOCs departed from formats that relied on posted resources, learning management systems, and structures that mix the learning management system with more open web resources. MOOCs from private, non-profit institutions emphasized prominent faculty members and expanded open offerings to existing subscribers (e.g., podcast listeners) into free and open online courses.
Recent developments 
|Shimon Schocken, The self-organizing computer course, October 2012|
|Daphne Koller, What we're learning from online education, June 2012|
|Peter Norvig, The 100,000-student classroom February 2012|
|Salman Khan Let's use video to reinvent education, March 2011|
"The New York Times dubbed 2012 'The Year of the MOOC,' and it has since become one of the hottest topics in education. Time magazine said that free MOOCs open the door to the 'Ivy League for the Masses.'” . This has been primarily due to the emergence of several well-financed providers, associated with top universities, including Udacity, Coursera, and edX.
In the fall of 2011 Stanford University launched three courses, each of which had an enrollment of about 100,000. The first of those courses, Introduction Into AI, was launched by Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig, with the enrollment quickly reaching approximately 160,000 students. The announcement was followed within weeks by the launch of two more MOOCs, by Andrew Ng and Jennifer Widom. Following the publicity and high enrollment numbers of these courses, Sebastian Thrun launched Udacity and Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng launched Coursera, both for-profit companies. Coursera subsequently announced partnerships with several other universities, including the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, Stanford University, and The University of Michigan.
Concerned about the commercialization of online education, MIT launched the MITx not-for-profit later in the fall, an effort to develop a free and open online platform. The inaugural course, 6.002x, launched in March 2012. Harvard joined the initiative, renamed edX, that spring, and University of California, Berkeley joined in the summer. The edX initiative now also includes the University of Texas System, Wellesley College and the Georgetown University.
In November 2012, the first high school MOOC was launched by the University of Miami Global Academy, UM's online high school. The course became available for high school students preparing for the SAT Subject Test in biology, providing access for students from any high school. About the same time Wedubox, first big MOOC in Spanish, started with the beta course including 1,000 professors.
On October 15, 2012 The University of New South Wales in Australia launched UNSW Computing 1, the first MOOC by an Australian University. The course was also the first MOOC to run on OpenLearning, an online learning platform developed in Australia, which provides features for group work, automated marking, collaboration and gamification. In late 2012, the UK's Open university launched a British MOOC provider, Futurelearn, as a separate company including provision of MOOCs from non-university partners. In March 2013 in a similar move for a homegrown platform Open2Study was setup in Australia. Both Futurelearn and Open2Study intend to build on the experience of their founding institutions in distance and online education.
MOOC providers have also emerged in other countries, including Iversity in Germany. Some organisations have also run their own MOOCs – including Google's Power Search MOOC. As of February 2013 dozens of universities had affiliated with MOOCs, including many international institutions.
In January 2013, Udacity launched the first MOOCs-for-credit, in collaboration with San Jose State University. This was followed in May 2013 by the announcement of the first-ever entirely MOOC-based Master's Degree, a collaboration between Udacity, AT&T and the Georgia Institute of Technology, costing $7,000.
During its first 13 months of operation (ending March 2013), Coursera offered about 325 courses, with 30% in the sciences, 28% in arts and humanities, 23% in information technology, 13% in business, and 6% in mathematics. Udacity offered 26 courses. Udacity's CS101, with an enrollment of over 300,000 students, is the largest MOOC to date.
Related educational practices and courses 
There are few standard practices or definitions in the field yet. A number of other organisations such as ALISON, Khan Academy, Peer-to-Peer University (P2PU) and Udemy are viewed as being similar to MOOCs, but differ in that they work outside the university system or mainly provide individual lessons that students may take at their own pace, rather than having a massive number of students all working on the same course schedule. Note, however, that Udacity differs from Coursera and edX in that it does not have a calendar-based schedule (asynchronous); students may start a course at any time. While some MOOCs such as Coursera present lectures online, typical to those of traditional classrooms, others such as Udacity offer interactive lessons with activities, quizzes and exercises interspersed between short videos and talks.
MOOC hype 
Many universities scrambled to join in the "next big thing", as did more established online education service providers such as Blackboard Inc, in what has been called a "stampede." Dozens of universities in Canada, Mexico, Europe and Asia have announced partnerships with the large American MOOC providers. Nevertheless, by early 2013, questions emerged about whether MOOCs were undergoing a hype cycle and whether academia was "MOOC'd out."
Instructional design approaches 
|10 Steps to Developing an Online Course: Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Duke University|
|Designing, developing and running (Massive) Online Courses by George Siemens, Athabasca University|
According to Sebastian Thrun's testimony before The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) on November 26, 2012, MOOC "courses are 'designed to be challenges,' not lectures, and the amount of data generated from these assessments can be evaluated using 'massively using machine learning' at work behind the scenes. This approach, he said, dispels 'the medieval set of myths' guiding teacher efficacy and student outcomes, and replaces it with evidence-based, 'modern, data-driven' educational methodologies that may be the instruments responsible for a 'fundamental transformation of education' itself" . Because of the massive scale of learners, and the likelihood of a high student-teacher ratio, MOOCs require instructional design that facilitates large-scale feedback and interaction. There are two basic approaches:
- Crowd-sourced interaction and feedback by leveraging the MOOC network, e.g. for peer-review, group collaboration
- Automated feedback through objective, online assessments, e.g. quizzes and exams
Because a MOOC provides a way of connecting distributed instructors and learners across a common topic or field of discourse, some instructional design approaches to MOOCs attempt to maximize the opportunity of connected learners who may or may not know each other already, through their network. This may include emphasizing collaborative development of the MOOC itself, or of learning paths for individual participants.
The evolution of MOOCs has also seen innovation in instructional materials. An emerging trend in MOOCs is the use of nontraditional textbooks such as graphic novels to improve students' knowledge retention. Others view the possibility of the videos and other material produced by the MOOC as becoming the modern form of the textbook. "MOOC is the new textbook," according to David Finegold of Rutgers University.
Instructional cost of MOOC delivery 
In 2013, the Chronicle of Higher Education surveyed 103 professors who had taught MOOCs. "Typically a professor spent over 100 hours on his MOOC before it even started, by recording online lecture videos and doing other preparation," though some instructors' pre-class preparation was "a few dozen hours." The professors then spent 8–10 hours per week on the course, including participation in discussion forums, where they posted once or twice a week.
The medians were: 33,000 students enrolled in a class; 2,600 receiving a passing grade; and 1 teaching assistant helping with the class. 74% of the classes used automated grading, and 34% used peer grading. 97% of the instructors used original videos in the course, 75% used open educational resources, and 27% used other resources. 9% of the classes required the purchase of a physical textbook, and 5% required the purchase of an e-book.
In May 2013 Coursera announced that it would be offering the free use of e-textbooks for some courses in partnership with Chegg, an online textbook-rental company. Students would need to use Chegg's e-reader which limits copying and printing and could only use a textbook while enrolled in the class.
Involvement of alumni 
In 2013 Harvard offered a popular class, The Ancient Greek Hero, which thousands of Harvard students had taken over the last few decades. It appealed to alumni to volunteer as online mentors and discussion group managers. About 10 former teaching fellows have also volunteered. The task of the volunteers, which requires 3–5 hours of unpaid work per week, is to focus online class discussion on the course material. The instructor, Gregory Nagy, 70 in 2013, is author of The Best of the Achaeans: Concepts of the Hero in Archaic Greek Poetry, Revised Edition. The course, offered through edX, had 27,000 students registered.
Connectivist design principles 
As MOOCs have evolved, there appear to be two distinct types: those that emphasize the connectivist philosophy, and those that resemble more traditional and well-financed courses, such as those offered by Coursera and edX. To distinguish between the two, Stephen Downes proposed the terms "cMOOC" and "xMOOC".
- Aggregation. The whole point of a connectivist MOOC is to provide a starting point for a massive amount of content to be produced in different places online, which is later aggregated as a newsletter or a web page accessible to participants on a regular basis. This is in contrast to traditional courses, where the content is prepared ahead of time.
- The second principle is remixing, that is, associating materials created within the course with each other and with materials elsewhere.
- Re-purposing of aggregated and remixed materials to suit the goals of each participant.
- Feeding forward, sharing of re-purposed ideas and content with other participants and the rest of the world.
An earlier list (2005) of Connectivist principles from Siemens also informs the pedagogy behind MOOCs:
- Learning and knowledge rest in diversity of opinions.
- Learning is a process of connecting specialised nodes or information sources.
- Learning may reside in non-human appliances.
- Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known.
- Nurturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate continual learning.
- Ability to see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts is a core skill.
- Currency (accurate, up-to-date knowledge) is the intent of all connectivist learning activities.
- Decision making is itself a learning process. Choosing what to learn and the meaning of incoming information is seen through the lens of a shifting reality. While there is a right answer now, it may be wrong tomorrow due to alterations in the information climate affecting the decision.
Exams and assessment 
Three types of activities are usually conducted online in a MOOC: direct presentation of information, such as a lecture or video; interactive exploration of the material, such as discussion boards, and assessment, such as exams and quizzes. Assessment may be the most difficult activity to conduct online and the online version may appear to quite different than the bricks-and-mortar version. Special attention has been devoted to proctoring and the problem of cheating.
The two most common methods of MOOC assessment are machine-graded multiple-choice quizzes or tests and peer-reviewed written assignments. Machine grading of written assignments is also being developed.
Peer review will often be based upon sample answers or rubrics, which guide the grader on how many points to award different answers. These rubrics can not be as complex for peer grading as they can be for grading by teaching assistants, but students are expected to learn both by being the grader as well as by having their work graded.
Exams may be proctored at regional testing centers, though this might limit the number of students who can take the course. Other methods, including "eavesdropping technologies worthy of the C.I.A." allow test taking at home or office, by using webcams,or monitoring mouse clicks and typing styles.
Special techniques such as adaptive testing may be used, where the test tailors itself given the student's previous answers, giving harder or easier questions based upon the number of correct answers given.
MOOC experiences 
MOOCs typically do not offer academic credit or charge tuition fees. Only about 10% of the tens of thousands of students who may sign up complete the course. MOOCs attract large numbers of participants, sometimes several thousands, most of whom participate peripherally ("lurk"). For example, the first MOOC in 2008 had 2200 registered members, of whom 150 were actively interacting at various times. Learners can control where, what, how, with whom they learn, but different learners choose to exercise more or less of that control. The goal is to re-define the very idea of a "course," creating an open network of learners with emergent and shared content and interactions. A MOOC allows participants to form connections through autonomous, diverse, open, and interactive discourse.
Most MOOCs that have featured "massive" participation have been courses emphasizing learning on the web. "Students" are often not traditional students in residence on a university campus, professionals who have already earned a degree, educators, business people, researchers and others interested in internet culture.
Principles of openness inform the creation, structure and operation of MOOCs. The extent to which practices of Open Design in educational technology are applied to a particular MOOC seem to vary with the planners involved. Research by Kop and Fournier  highlighted as major challenges for novice learners on MOOCs the lack of social presence and the high level of autonomy required to operate in such a learning environment. According to some comments in MOOC discussion forums, features that are normally associated with an educational activity can appear to be completely missing. Structure, direction and purpose sometimes seem lost in the scattering of discussions, and this messiness, although it also creates a buzz, can make following a line of discussion or creating meaning challenging.
One online MOOC reviewer, Jonathan Haber, has tried to focus on questions of what students are learning in MOOCs and who are the students themselves. About half the students taking the courses are from outside the United States, and many do not speak English as their first language.
He's found some of the courses to be very meaningful, even though they are essentially about reading comprehension. Video lectures followed by a few multiple choice questions can be challenging since they are often the "right questions." Discussion boards can seem paradoxical with the fewer contributions leading to the best conversations. More discussion comments can be "really, really thoughtful and really, really misguided," with long discussions becoming mediocre rehashes or "the same old stale left/right debate." Grading by peer review has had mixed results. Three fellow students each grade one written assignment for each assignment that they themselves submit. The grading key or rubric tends to focus the grading, but discourages more creative writing.
A. J. Jacobs in an op-ed in the New York Times graded his experience in 11 MOOC classes overall as a "B". He rated his professors as '"B+", despite "a couple of clunkers", even comparing them to pop stars and "A-list celebrity professors." Nevertheless he rated teacher-to-student interaction as a "D" since he had almost no contact with the professors.
Convenience was the highest rated aspect of Jacob's course experience, rated an "A", as he was able to watch lectures at odd moments of the day. Student-to-student interaction and assignments both received "B-" from Jacobs. Study groups that didn't meet, trolls on message boards, and the relative slowness of online vs. personal conversations lowered his rating on student-to-student interaction. Assignments included multiple choice quizzes and exams as well as essays and projects. He found the multiple choice tests stressful and peer graded essays painful, even though the peer reviewers tried to be kind. He only completed 2 of the 11 classes he registered for.
Students served 
Early plans and discussions often emphasized that MOOCs could open up higher education to anybody in the world, especially to underserved populations. As of 2013, the range of students registered appears to be broad, diverse, and non-traditional, but is concentrated among English-speakers in rich countries.
A course billed as "Asia's first MOOC" given by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology through Coursera starting in April 2013 had 17,000 students registered. About 60% were from "rich countries" with many of the rest from middle-income countries in Asia, or Brazil, Mexico, or South Africa. There were fewer students from areas with more limited access to the internet, and students from the People's Republic of China may have been discouraged by Chinese government policies.
“We have the whole gamut of older and younger, experienced and less experienced students, and also academics and probably some people who are experts in related fields,” according to Naubahar Sharif who teaches the class on Science, Technology and Society in China. “We do have students from China as well, in places where Internet connections are more reliable.”
During its first 13 months in operation, ending March 2013, Coursera registered about 2.8 million learners with
- 27.7% from the United States
- 8.8% from India
- 5.1% from Brazil
- 4.4% from the United Kingdom
- 4.0% from Spain
- 3.6% from Canada
- 2.3% from Australia
- 2.2% from Russia
- 41.9% from the rest of the world
According to a Stanford University study of a more general group of students "active learners" – anybody who participated beyond just registering – showed a very unbalanced gender proportion. Sixty-four percent of high school active learners were male, with 88% male for both undergraduate- and graduate-level courses.
Completion rates 
Completion rates are typically very low, with a steep drop-off in student participation starting in the first week. In the course Bioelectricity, Fall 2012 at Duke University, 12,725 students enrolled, but only 7,761 ever watched a video, 3,658 attempted a quiz, 345 attempted the final exam, and 313 passed, earning a certificate.
Broad-based but early data from Coursera suggest a completion rate of 7%–9%. Most registered students don't intend to complete the course, according to Coursera founders Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng, but rather to explore the general topic. The completion rate for students who complete the first assignment is about 45 percent. Students paying $50 for a feature designed to prevent cheating on exams have completion rates of about 70 percent.
One online survey listed a "top ten" list of reasons for not completing a course. These most common reasons were that the course required too much time, was too difficult, or conversely, too basic. Reasons related to poor course design included "lecture fatigue" related to a perceived tendency to simply recreate the bricks-and-mortar course, lack of a proper introduction to course technology and format, and clunky technology and trolling on discussion boards. Hidden costs were cited including by those who found that required readings were from expensive texts written by the instructor. Other non-completers were "just shopping around" when they registered, or were participating simply for the knowledge rather than a credential.
A study from Stanford University's Learning Analytics group identifies four type of MOOC students: auditors, who watched video throughout the course, but took few quizzes or exams; completers, who viewed most lectures and took part in most assessments; disengaging learners, who took part only at the start of the course; and sampling learners, who might only watch the lectures at various times during the course. Based on data from high school, undergraduate, and graduate MOOCs. They identified the following percentages in each group:
Potential benefits 
The MOOC Guide lists 12 benefits of a MOOC:
- You can organize a MOOC in any setting that has connectivity (which can include the Web, but also local connections via Wi-Fi e.g.)
- You can organize it in any language you like (taking into account the main language of your target audience)
- You can use any online tools that are relevant to your target region or that are already being used by the participants
- You can move beyond time zones and physical boundaries
- It can be organized as quickly as you can inform the participants (which makes it a powerful format for priority learning in e.g. aid relief)
- Contextualized content can be shared by all
- Learning happens in a more informal setting
- Learning can also happen incidentally thanks to the unknown knowledge that pops up as the course participants start to exchange notes on the course’s study
- You can connect across disciplines and corporate/institutional walls
- You don’t need a degree to follow the course, only the willingness to learn (at high speed)
- You add to your own personal learning environment and/or network by participating in a MOOC
- You will improve your lifelong learning skills, for participating in a MOOC forces you to think about your own learning and knowledge absorption
Challenges and criticisms 
The MOOC Guide lists 5 possible challenges for collaborative-style MOOCs:
- It feels chaotic as participants create their own content
- It demands digital literacy
- It demands time and effort from the participants
- It is organic, which means the course will take on its own trajectory (you have got to let go).
- As a participant you need to be able to self-regulate your learning and possibly give yourself a learning goal to achieve.
In addition, other concerns have been raised regarding the nature of MOOCs, including:
- Concerns have been raised around the 'territorial' nature of MOOCs with little discussion around: 1) who enrolls in/completes courses; 2) The implications of courses scaling across country borders, and potential difficulties with relevance and knowledge transfer; 3) the need for territory-specific study of locally relevant issues and needs.
- 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.
The effect of MOOCs on the structure of higher education has been severely questioned, for example by Moshe Y. Vardi in an article entitled "Will MOOCs destroy academia?" He describes the problem as being an "absence of serious pedagogy in MOOCs", indeed in all of higher education, with a rather uninspiring MOOC format of "short, unsophisticated video chunks, interleaved with online quizzes, and accompanied by social networking." An underlying reason is simple cost cutting pressures, which are likely to hamstring the higher education industry if followed without proper analysis.
By majority vote (60%), Amherst College faculty rejected the opportunity to work with edX based on a perceived incompatibility of their small liberal arts college seminar-style classes and personalized feedback with the demands of a MOOC. Some were concerned about issues such as the "information dispensing" teaching model of lectures followed by exams, the use of multiple-choice exams, and peer-grading. However, others were interested in exploring alternatives to that model. The effect of MOOCs on the structure of higher education was also a concern, especially the potential of taking funds away from second- and third-tier institutions and centralizing higher education, and of perpetuating a faculty "star system".
Economics, business models and industry structure 
MOOCs are widely seen as a major part of a larger disruptive innovation taking place in the higher education industry. In particular, the many services at present offered under the current university business model are likely to become unbundled and sold to the universities' diverse customers individually or in newly formed bundles. These services include research, curriculum design, content generation (such as textbooks), teaching, assessment and certification (such as granting degrees), and student placement. MOOCs threaten the current business model by potentially selling teaching, assessment, and/or placement separately from the current package of services.
James Mazoue, Director of Online Programs at Wayne State University describes one possible innovation:
The next disruptor will likely mark a tipping point: an entirely free online curriculum leading to a degree from an accredited institution. With this new business model, students might still have to pay to certify their credentials, but not for the process leading to their acquisition. If free access to a degree-granting curriculum were to occur, the business model of higher education would dramatically and irreversibly change.
But how universities will benefit by "giving our product away free online" is not yet clear.
No one's got the model that's going to work yet. I expect all the current ventures to fail, because the expectations are too high. People think something will catch on like wildfire. But more likely, it's maybe a decade later that somebody figures out how to do it and make money.—James Grimmelmann, New York Law School professor
Business model 
The freemium business model, drawn from Silicon Valley companies like Google is a leading candidate. In this model the basic product – the course content – is given away free. “Charging for content would be a tragedy,” said Andrew Ng. But premium services such as certification or placement would be charged a fee.
Coursera has begun charging licensing fees for educational institutions that use Coursera materials. The very popular introductory or "gateway" courses and some remedial courses may earn them the most fees. Universities will benefit by attracting new students to follow-on fee-charging classes or they may offer blended courses, supplementing MOOC material with face-to-face instruction. Both Coursera and Udacity have begun to charge employers for hiring access to the best students. Students may be able to pay to take a proctored exam which could lead to them getting transfer credit at a degree-granting university, or Coursera may charge $20 to $50 for certificates of completion. The table below illustrates some of the revenue sources currently being discussed by three MOOC providers.
Overview of potential revenue sources for three MOOC providers
In February 2013 the American Council on Education announced that they would recommend that its members accept transfer credit from a few MOOC courses, though even the universities who deliver the courses said that they would not accept the transfer credit. The high tuition fees charged by these elite universities give them a major incentive against accepting transfer credit from free classes.
Academic Partnerships, a company that helps public universities move their courses online, also hopes for follow-on revenue. According to its chairman, Randy Best “We started it, frankly, as a campaign to grow enrollment. But 72 to 84 percent of those who did the first course came back and paid to take the second course.”
While Coursera takes a large cut of any revenue generated – but requires no minimum payment – the not-for-profit EdX has a minimum required payment from course providers, but then takes a smaller cut of any profit made, tied to the amount of support required for each course
Industry structure 
The industry that has rapidly grown to provide MOOCs has an unusual structure consisting of linked groups including the actual for-profit or non-profit MOOC providers, the larger non-profit sector, universities, related companies, and venture capitalists. The Chronicle of Higher Education lists the major providers as the non-profits the Khan Academy, and edX, and the for-profits Udacity and Coursera.
The larger non-profit organizations with commitments to the field include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the American Council on Education. Major universities involved include Stanford, Harvard, MIT, the University of Pennsylvania, CalTech, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of California at Berkeley, and San Jose State University.
The success of MOOCs is expected to change the structure of the higher education industry. As the philosophy faculty at San Jose State University wrote in an open letter to Harvard University professor and MOOC teacher Michael Sandel:
Should one-size-fits-all vendor-designed blended courses become the norm, we fear two classes of universities will be created: one, well-funded colleges and universities in which privileged students get their own real professor; the other, financially stressed private and public universities in which students watch a bunch of video-taped lectures.
Producing and delivering MOOCs is a technological challenge. Unlike traditional courses, MOOCs require videographers, instructional designers, IT specialists, and platform specialists. An instructor at Georgia Tech reports that they have a team of 19 people working on MOOCs, and that more are needed. The platforms are designed to be available to students at all times during the course, unlike traditional courses and often have the same technological requirements as media/content sharing websites due to the large number of students involved with a class. As a result, MOOCs use Cloud computing and other modern technology involved with Application software.
Course delivery involves non-synchronous access to videos and other learning material, exams and other assessment, as well as online forums. Engagement is also a core concept behind course delivery. Before 2013 each MOOC tended to develop its own delivery platform. EdX has planned to make its delivery software freely available as an open-source package and in April 2013 joined with Stanford University, which previously had its own platform called Class2Go, to work on a joint open-source platform. The platform, called XBlock SDK, is available to the public under the Affero GPL open source license, which requires that all improvements to the platform be publicly posted and made available under the same license. John Mitchell, a Stanford Vice Provost, said that the goal was to provide the “Linux of online learning.”. This is unlike other platforms like Coursera that have developed their own software for their specific site.
See also 
- Distance education
- Open educational resources
- Outcome-based education
- Saylor Foundation
- Lewin, Tamar (February 20, 2013). "Universities Abroad Join Partnerships on the Web". New York Times. Retrieved March 6, 2013.
- Wiley, David. "The MOOC Misnomer". July 2012
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- Videos by Dave Cormier with a grant from the University of Prince Edward Island, What is..., Success..., Knowledge..., accessed March 6, 2013
- Saettler, Paul (1968), A History of Instructional Technology, New York…, Mc Graw Hill.
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- Joseph F. Kett, Pursuit of Knowledge Under Difficulties: From Self-Improvement to Adult Education in America (1996) pp 236–8
- Matt, Susan; Fernandez, Luke (April 23, 2013). "Before MOOCs, 'Colleges of the Air'". Chronicle of Higher Education.
- Dwayne D. Cox and William J. Morison, The University of Louisville (1999) pp 115–17
- P. Moeglin, Les industries éducatives, Paris, Presses universitaires de France, 2010
- Professor Floyd Zulli of NYU was an animating spirit in this enterprise: "CBS Sunrise Semester".
- For description, see: "Augustine on the Infobahn".; for O'Donnell's reflections on the current context, see "The Future Is Now, and Always Has Been".
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|Look up MOOC in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
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