Q: What is a MOOC?

A:  A “Massive Open On-line Course.”

Have you ever taken one?

I’m enrolled in one right now:  “Exercise Physiology:  Understanding the Athlete Within,”   taught by Professor Mark Hargreaves from the University of Melbourne.  I think it is the fourth MOOC I’ve ever taken, and it is the first one that has any direct relation to my profession.  The course began last week, and I was able to do most of my lecture viewing this past weekend.  While my kids are enjoying their summer vacation at an overnight camp, I’m back in school!

Before I get much further, I suppose I should spend a moment describing, at least in my terms, what a MOOC is, most especially for those folks that ticked “No” in the poll above.

Massive Open On-line Courses (MOOCs) have been around now for a few years.  I believe there are several providers, the largest ones being Coursera and edX.   One can better understand the nature of a MOOC by deconstructing the phrase itself:  MOOCs are typically ‘massive’ (they have large enrollments);  ‘open’ (they are typically free, and enrolling is a matter of  simply ‘signing up’); ‘on line’  (you’ll need internet access); courses (they are educational sessions which last for several weeks, and include syllabi, lectures, assignments).

edX describes itself on its twitter home page thus: “A global community committed to bringing quality education to everyone across the globe through an innovative MOOC platform–founded by Harvard and MIT.” Read more of this post

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