Shorthand for Massive Online Open Courses, MOOCs offer access to Higher Education on an industrial scale via the Web.
Most MOOCs are similar in structure to traditional online higher education courses, in that participants;
- watch video lectures
- read assigned material
- participate in online discussions and forums
- complete quizzes and tests on the course material.
MOOCs differ in that access and participation is not dependent on pre-qualifications or fees; MOOCs are FREE.
MOOCs are typically provided by higher education institutions, often in partnership with infrastructure providers and content producers such as FutureLearn, Coursera, edX, and Udacity, though some MOOCs are being offered directly by insitutions.
MOOCs arise from the confluence of several important trends, and they raise important questions and spark essential conversations about curriculum design, accreditation, what constitutes a valid learning experience, the purpose of Universities, and who has access to higher education.
Benefits of MOOCs to Royal Holloway include:
- Branding - To build the University brand in the UK and overseas through the enrolment of massive numbers of learners onto University branded, online courses
- Innovation - To stimulate innovation in Teaching and Learning, looking to include more online content in courses which can lead to greater opportunities in internationalisation and collaborative provision
- Research - To promote research excellence and showcase particular areas of research, potentially in alignment with major international research council priorities, or specific industry R&D areas
- Recruitment - To recruit students to specific programmes or subject areas (and potentially from particular geographies) through using MOOCs as pathway courses
- Enhancement - To enhance existing on-campus programmes through offering certain modules online by ‘invite only’
- Alumni relations - To develop and foster relationships with alumni