A massive open online course (MOOC) is an online course aimed at unlimited 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 teaching assistants (TAs). MOOCs are a recent development in distance education.
Although early MOOCs often emphasized open access features, such as open licensing of content, open structure and learning goals and connectivism, to promote the reuse and remixing of resources, some notable newer MOOCs use closed licenses for their course materials, while maintaining free access for students.
According to a group called CDTIS, MOOCs promise to open up higher education by providing accessible, flexible, affordable and fast-track completion of universities courses for free or at a low cost for learners who are interested in learning.
The popularity of MOOCs has attracted a great deal of attention from institutions of higher education and private investors around the world seeking to build their brands and to enter the education market.
Institutions will need to look more closely at and learn from the different initiatives outside traditional institutions that are developing new business, financial and revenue models to meet the different needs of new groups of learners in an open higher education marketplace.
Open education brings new opportunities for innovation in higher education that will allow institutions and academics to explore new online learning models and innovative practices in teaching and learning.
At a national and international level, new frameworks for higher education funding structures, quality insurance and accreditation to support different approaches and models for delivering higher education will be required.
Policy makers will need to embrace openness and make education more affordable and accessible for all and at the same time be profitable for the institutions in an open higher education ecosystem.
In this author’s opinion, American educators, need to keep the following in mind:
If you always do
What you always did
Then you will always get
What you always got…
PS - What is really difficult for a traditional College Professor to understand, especially those with PhDs is the fact with all that education and very little if any practical experience that they might be wrong...
PSS - And, we have not said anything at all about the new concept of Digital Game Based Learning which is seriously being explored in the military right now and will soon take over higher education like a tidal wave.