The MOOCs: Characteristics, Benefits, and Challenges to Both Industry and Higher Education

The MOOCs: Characteristics, Benefits, and Challenges to Both Industry and Higher Education

John F. LeCounte (Texas A&M University, USA) and Detra Johnson (Texas A&M University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1624-8.ch084
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Abstract

In this chapter, the authors present the rapid rise of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) derived from a yearning to create and make widely available materials and conditions for participatory learning and creative space dedicated to the open education. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) were developed to provide open, meaning unrestricted, online courses without higher education cost constraints to students. This new technological platform was embraced, developed, and offered by some of the country's leading universities and institutions including Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, Stanford, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Students may collaborate through strategic social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Further, according to LeCounte et al. (2014), the social media partnerships have been found to offer competitive advantages in terms of low cost and tremendous visibility to both corporations and institutions of higher learning.
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Background

In recent years the topic of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) has caused the world of academia to review educational delivery strategies through scholarly discourse (Ebben, 2014). MOOCs were created to serve a multifaceted purpose for use in different contexts. There are significant factors that differentiate the platforms of an xMOOCs from cMOOCs is proprietorship. Moreover, cMOOCs participation requirements tend not to be as structured xMOOCs and the administrators consists of collaborative teams who develop the courses. In contrast, xMOOCs is usually developed and designed for colleges and universities. The participation requirements in institutions of higher learning must adhere to rigorous accreditation standards. Some institutions in higher education have smartly chosen to embrace MOOCs as apparatus to engage a diverse population of learners. Of course, MOOCs just as any new phenomenon requires rigorous research and development to determine how to maximize this technology to ensure systematic integration into the institution. However, conversations are taking place in universities and colleges which have signaled a transferal in the customs in which digital teaching and learning are engaged in and understood. For this paper, a comprehensive search of leading academic databases was examined to capture the initial phase of MOOC scholarship between 2009 and 2013, an offers and analysis of empirical studies that conceptualizes themes in MOOC scholarship and locates them within a chronological order. The rise of xMOOCs, benefits and challenges to further development of MOOC pedagogy and platforms, growth of learning analytics and assessment, and the emergence of a critical discourse about MOOCs. Further, corporate collaboration is researched to determine how organizations can take advantage of this technology to address increased training expenses for employees. Since MOOCs have tremendous promise of enhancing organizational effectiveness, profession development is also researched to determine how individuals can benefit from this technology. Ultimately, once coherent business models are in place institutions of higher learning that have decided to embrace MOOCs will prosper.

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