MOOCs are online courses not limited to availability or access, making them an ideal platform for massive amounts of student applications. Although introduced in 2008, it was only four years that the concept caught on.
Before the popularity of MOOCs, distance learning was limited to correspondence courses from traditional universities. Although attainting a degree from such distance courses was relatively inexpensive than regular courses, it was not entirely home-based or institutional-free. Even today students who undertake such courses must still attend classes and curriculum activities to receive credits. Students who often undertook these courses were working individuals, as a result, seldom completed the courses. Prior to the 2000’s, it is estimated that less than 5% of those attending such courses went on to complete them. Despite the popularity of this consumption channel, many critics still argue that MOOC’s may have already hit its peak and now faces prospects of diminishing value and popularity.
Across the world, growing trends among MOOCs are seeing them shift away from traditional conceptual models to newer altered educational patterns:
- Self paced learning – Traditionally MOOC courses had specific start and end dates, with strict deadlines for specific assignments and projects. This often resulted in learners missing the onset of certain courses and studies. Due to this reason MOOC providers have started to provide self-paced courses and modules to allow the learner to choose when to begin.
- No more free certificates – Earlier MOOC providers used to give up free certificates; however, this not only proved expensive for provider but also reduced credibility and acceptability of certificates attained through MOOC courses. At present, all providers have shifted to paid courses, essentially solving both issues at the same time.
- Targeted towards High school students – Another growing trend among MOOC is more courses being offered to high school students. These courses mostly act like introductions or preparatory courses for college, essentially reducing the gap between high school and college studies.
- Development of business models – Providers have now started to create own credentials through specialisations like ‘Nanodegrees’ from Uadcity and ‘Xseries’ from edX.
- Growth of courses – The number of courses available from MOOC worldwide grew substantially from January 2013 from a few hundred courses to nearly 2500 in 2015. This trend of increasing number of courses has contributed to the growth of MOOCs worldwide.
Here you find a selection of MOOC providers: