Massive Open Online Course (MOOCs) are the natural evolution of Open Course Ware, first created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2001.
It is an online course which aims at unlimited participation and open access via the web. In includes all the course materials such as filmed lectures, readings, and problem sets, many MOOCs provide interactive user forums to support community interactions among students, professors, and teaching assistants .
MOOCs are a recent development in distance education. It includes quizzes and exams to assess the knowledge of the students. Also there is some interaction between students and teachers in every possible manner.
MOOCs Open: The course should be openly accessible to everyone and there should not be any constraint such as possession of a qualification and should also allow mixing of resources. On the other hand, the accessibility to all the educational resources (videos, lecture notes) should be free of cost whereas certain other things, like asking direct questions to the teacher, the correction of the activities, or obtaining a certificate at the end of the course may have an decent economic cost.
Massive: This online course should allow access to a very large number of students, much larger than a face-to-face class, or a traditional online course.
Classification of MOOCs
At the beginning, the MOOCs had a strong and deep collaborative philosophy (cMOOCs), but this philosophy has evolved to a commercial sense (xMOOCs).
A cMOOC basically emphasizes on the connectivist philosophy: it is considered as a social platform for sharing and constructing knowledge within a group of people. cMOOCs are based on principles from connectivist philosophy which indicate that the material should be aggregated rather than pre-selected, cMOOC also attempts to connect learners from all the corners of the world to each other and answers the questions and also further collaborate their projects with joint efforts.
An xMOOC is more reliable than cMOOC and follows a more traditional model of education that is based on lectures and videos and is well financed. xMOOCs have a much more traditional course structure typically with a clearly specified syllabus of recorded lectures and self-test problems. They employ elements of the original MOOC, but are, in effect, branded IT platforms that offer content distribution partnerships to institutions. The instructor is the expert provider of knowledge, and student interactions are usually limited to asking for assistance and advising each other on difficult points.