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MOOCs and Open Education Around the World

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MOOCs and Open Education Around the World


15 min read
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What's inside?

Have massive open online courses (MOOCs) revolutionized education, as some claim? Not yet – but they might.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Well Structured


This compendium of 29 essays on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) is useful and illuminating, but due to the nature of its construction, it can’t always flow smoothly: Very interesting chapters follow those that are solid, but less compelling. Because each scholar wrote his or her own chapter, the reader gains many independent insights, but some themes recur. A number of the authors have been part of groundbreaking educational experiments, and they continue to revolutionize higher education. As a result, getAbstract finds that this collection offers essential information for students, educators, educational administrators, and anyone interested in education, social change or cyber-culture.


Introducing “MOOCs”

In their first few years, “Massive Open Online Courses” (MOOCs) suffered massive hype and some subsequent disappointment. Education start-up entrepreneurs claimed MOOCs would revolutionize higher education. For example, the CEO of Udacity claimed that in 50 years, only 10 universities would still exist, Udacity among them. Tellingly, Udacity no longer offers higher education. It focuses on corporate training. Even if MOOCs aren’t the ultimate tool for revolutionizing learning, they do demonstrate the way higher education is becoming more complex and more digitized. Online education is truly open if everyone has access to resources, assessments, credentials and competencies. Users should be able to retain, reuse, revise, remix and redistribute course content, and to tap into learning that helps them develop more employable skills.

Today’s MOOCs are the most recent stage in the evolution of the “Open Educational Resources” movement, which started in the 1990s with “open learning objects” and continued in the 2000s with “OpenCourseWare” and “Open Textbooks.” MOOCs provide clear benefits among these offerings. They make “instructional content” cheaper...

About the Authors

Curtis J. Bonk is professor of instructional systems technology at Indiana University. Mimi M. Lee is associate professor of curriculum and instruction at the University of Houston. Thomas C. Reeves is professor emeritus of learning, design and technology at the University of Georgia. Thomas H. Reynolds is a professor of teacher education at National University in California.

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