Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and the Technologies That Support Learning with Them

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and the Technologies That Support Learning with Them

Jeremy Riel (University of Illinois at Chicago, USA) and Kimberly A. Lawless (University of Illinois at Chicago, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch741
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Characterizing Moocs

We attribute the emergence of MOOCs to the convergence of five favorable conditions: 1) a worldwide economic recession prompting the desire for additional education by millions of people worldwide (Lentell & O’Rourke, 2004; Megill, 2004); 2) the reduction in cost of personal digital devices such as laptop computers, smartphones, and tablets; 3) the improvement of worldwide technology infrastructure and Internet bandwidth around the world; 4) the improvement of high-quality asynchronous and synchronous communications technologies; and 5) the open content / open licensing movement (e.g., the Creative Commons and GNU attribution licenses). The convergence of these conditions has led to common elements that define MOOCs. As their name suggests, MOOCs are characterized by the following traits: 1) massive; 2) open; 3) online; and 4) course.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Learning Analytics: Combined automatic data collection and analysis that tracks participant activity and provide statistics on how participants approach course content and activities.

Badges: Digital graphics that are “awarded” to participants in online spaces to indicate degrees of participation within the environment or completion of objectives within the environment.

Certificates of Completion: Documents issued by MOOC providers and individual MOOC instructors that certify that a participant has successfully completed a course. Some MOOC providers issue premium certificates for a fee, which verify identity and offer a secure, online verification process for employers or academic institutions.

Massive Open Online Course (MOOC): An online educational course that is open to anyone to participate, often free of cost.

Active Learning: Experiences that require learners to actively participate in activities, to reflect on their experiences, and to interact with technology and other people in order to develop a deeper understanding of a subject.

Learning Management System (LMS): Applications that are designed to manage and deliver content to participants within an online course.

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