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Commercial Education Society of Australia

What are MOOCs?
Karen D-S

MOOCs stands for Massive Open Online Courses. The École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, as one example, uses courses from the largest universities around the world.

Course delivery is simple — you just watch them online. The common format is seven weeks. The standard lecture of two hours becomes an online presentation of a set of 5–10 videos lasting between 10 and 12 minutes. Initially, the students see the teacher, but after that the focus shifts to what the teacher writes using a tablet while speaking.

Attention has been paid to alleviating boredom by introducing quizzes — the video stops while input from students is invited, then continues. Assignments are uploaded every week and automatically graded or peer evaluated.

Another component of MOOCs is the social aspect. Students can post questions on a forum, with teachers and students voting for the best questions.

MOOCs stands for Massive Open Online Courses.

Results are reported according to The Free Courses Credential Key used by all the large institutions

CC Certificate and Completion
SA Statement of Achievement
CM Certificate of Mastery
SJSU San Jose State Credit for a Fee
NI No information about the certificate available
NC No certificate

Courses are varied. Here are just a few:

Sebastian Thrun, the godfather of free online education, was a Stanford professor who believed that education should be available to the masses, not just those who could afford it ― Stanford students pay $52,000 a year. To date, 1.6 million students have signed up. However, the downside is that fewer than 10% of students actually complete the course.

San Jose State University used MOOCs in an innovative way by offering a MOOCs credit for remedial maths, college algebra and elementary statistics for $150 each. Just 25% of the total passed making the $150 tuition fee less than a bargain.

What next? How to motivate students? How to develop students’ skills in thinking critically, asking questions, finding out ways of seeing the world from different points of view?

To find out more read Holmes on Inforgraphic, How will MOOCs make money?, August 2013.


November 2013

© Copyright CESA November 2013