Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are an emerging tool in the educational sector with an estimated 4200 courses available globally and over 35 million registered users to some form of MOOC course (Shah,2015). A MOOC is essentially an online course that can comprise of several online components such as videos, text, forums with other students and quizzes all aimed to develop students’ proficiencies in a given subject (EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative, 2013). The majority of MOOCS are free and last several weeks with the course structure comprising of weekly instalments to gradually increase knowledge of the given subject. Also certain MOOCs can provide the students the opportunity to gain a recognised qualification from a higher education institution (EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative, 2013).
To ensure a thorough knowledge of MOOCS, our lecturer advised us to select a MOOC that interested us and actively engage with the course. I decided to select two MOOC courses provided by Coursera.org. Though other MOOC providers are available such as EdX and Canvas Network. The two courses I selected were Business Analytics provided by the University of Pennsylvania and Search Engine Optimisation provided by the University of California since they are both beneficial towards my business degree. I found it initially difficult to engage with the courses since I prefer direct interaction with teachers and fellow students and find that classroom interaction is more stimulating and leads to more critical thinking than would be available on a forum setting. I also found it difficult to concentrate attentively during the online video lectures for a prolonged period since I had easy access to other websites.
After a final review, I believe that MOOCs will be a more prevalent part of higher education due to various factors such as the increase in tuition fees in the United Kingdom potentially deterring part time students from enrolling on courses and monetary restraints imposed on universities affecting contact time between students and lecturers (Shaw, 2015). I also believe more universities will engage with MOOCs since this provides the opportunity to engage with prospective students who may wish to complete a full higher education qualification at their establishment (Swain, 2015).
EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. 2013. 7 things you should know about MOOCS. EDUCAUSE. Available from https://library.educause.edu/resources/2013/6/7-things-you-should-know-about-moocs-ii. [Accessed 22 February 2016].
Shah, D. 2015. By the numbers MOOCS in 2015. [Online]. Class Central. Available from https://www.class-central.com/report/moocs-2015-stats/. [Accessed 22 February 2016].
Shaw, C. 2015. Dissatisfied students want more contact time with teaching staff. The Guardian, 4 June. [Online]. Guardian. Available from: http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2015/jun/04/dissatisfied-students-want-more-contact-time-with-teaching-staff. [Accessed 22 February 2016].
Swain, H. 2015. This change will be the end of the Open University as we know it. The Guardian, 20 October. [Online]. Guardian. available from: http://www.theguardian.com/education/2015/oct/20/open-university-strike-ou-regional-centres-moocs. [Accessed 22 February 2016].