Doing a quick scan of the information on the World Wide Web on the availability of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and even just searching for MOOCs available to register in will show that they are quite common and readily availble. If you’re not very familiar with what a MOOC is, you can watch the end of this short video to learn a little more.
It’s clear to see that this is a trend that will continue to grow with time. What’s interesting, however, is that while MOOCs began as OPEN courses, and hence free of charge, a growing trend is the monetization of the course, or the monetization of the degree or certification that the free and open MOOC leads too. You can read this article about current trends in MOOCs including the increasing occurrence of monetization.
While this is not to say that all MOOC providers are turning to monetization, it does illustrate that the tag MOOC is possibly becoming just that, a tag – or catch phrase, that is common enough to catch people’s attention, but no longer holds true to its definition. A recent study examining the emergence of the MOOC, MOOC Rampant, found that while the amount of courses called MOOCs is rapidly expanding, several MOOCs were not true to their definition. Not just in not being OPEN and free but also several are not MASSIVE either. Below is a small excerpt from their study:
While I see the trend of the increasing availability of MOOCs as an amazing opportunity in learning, I think it will be interesting to watch it develop and see whether with time it will develop a more homogenous definition of what exactly can and cannot be called a MOOC.