MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course and is generally an online course that is aimed at a large group of participants that access the free course via the Internet. The courses are structured similar to university courses but it is usually not possible to gain academic credit for attendance in such a course (MOOC List).
When I examined the Saylor.org website I was surprised to find so many quality courses delivered at a University level. There have been a few years since I was involved in a MOOC course and when I was researching what was out there I was pleasantly surprised and really look forward to explore some of the MOOC’s that are on offer.
I decided on a course that is an Introduction to Computer Science I, as that is a subject that stands close to my heart. Looking at the structure of the course I found 8 units of instruction and in the end a final examination. Each unit seems to have been carefully planned and organized and the sequencing of units is in logical order. What you learned in a previous unit is built upon in the next unit. Each unit has been carefully broken into smaller modules where each topic has been assigned a time element – the expected time it takes to finish off this topic, helping participants to plan their time ahead. The total estimated completion time for the course is 94,5 hours that is similar to what is needed to finish a 3-semester credit’s, about 45 hours in “classroom” time and about 45 hours of preparation and assignment work (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012).
This course is a typical example of an asynchronous distance learning that is student led and according to Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek (2012), is the purest form of distance education as it happens at different times and in different places.
The course activities and resources are very diverse and include some instructional videos from the Khan Academy, interactive course material from Java and varioius exercises and assignments. All the material is open source and freely available on the internet and it looks to me as it has been carefully selected in retrospect to quality and revailance.
I look forward to investigate my selected MOOC in the future although I am familiar to some of the elements in the course there seem to be others that I could do with a refresher course on.
MOOC List. (n.d.). What is a MOOC? Retrieved from MOOC List: http://www.mooc-list.com/
Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: foundations of distance education. Boston, MA, USA: Pearson.