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MOOC (Massive Open Online Course): All the facts about the online courses

Can you get certificates for MOOC learning?

Yes, most MOOCs are optional certificates available (for a fee). To do this, you have to meet the course requirements, e.g. achieve a minimum number of points in the online tests.

The certificate then shows the name of the MOOC provider (e.g. edX) and the educational institution that created the course content (e.g. Harvard University).

Also for applications MOOC certificates can be a useful addition to jobs. Due to the increasing awareness of MOOCs, more and more employers can do something with the certificates ("What do the certificates and nanodegrees bring?").

You can also integrate your MOOC certificates into your own online résumé, e.g. on LinkedIn.

Do MOOCs take place on certain dates?

Yes, MOOCs usually start certain dates and run over a course duration of approx. 4-6 weeks. After a certain time, the video course will restart again.

During the course of the course, the learning content is usually flexibly accessible. So when exactly you work on the individual lessons is up to you.

With some MOOC platforms (e.g. edX) the content is available for Self learning available even after the course has ended. But then without the exams.

Who offers MOOCs?

There are already worldwide thousands of MOOCs from countless providers. (In our directory you can search the courses e.g. by subject area.)

The most important MOOC platforms are:

Largest MOOC platform worldwide, over 30 million course participants. Lots of high-quality course content from universities in Stanford, Princeton, Yale, London, Munich, Zurich and Geneva, among others. (more about Coursera). 

Second largest MOOC platform, approx. 10 million learners. Good quality content from Harvard, MIT, Berkeley, Oxford, RWTH Aachen, TU Munich, ETH Zurich, among others. (more about edX)

Developed as a MOOC platform at Stanford University, now mainly IT courses in cooperation with industrial partners such as Google, Facebook, Daimler or Bosch. Course topics: including artificial intelligence and self-driving cars.

Largest European MOOC platform (UK). Various British and European universities. But often a little simpler and shorter online courses.

Was the first major MOOC platform from Germany. In the meantime mainly online courses in professional development.

Computer science MOOCs of the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam.

Smaller MOOC provider of the Lübeck University of Applied Sciences.

The current courses of this provider? You can of course also find them in our course directory.

The providers Fun-MOOC with French online courses, Miriada X (Spanish) and EduOpen (Italy) are also known in Europe.

Other MOOC providers in emerging markets:

The Chinese providers XuetangX (Tsinghua University) had over 5 million users just 3 years after it was launched. The MOOC platform is expected to continue expanding worldwide by 2022.

And also in India (Swayam, NPTEL), Russia (Open Education, Universarium),Brazil (Veduca), Indonesia (IndonesiaX) and Malaysia (Malaysia MOOC) MOOC platforms are mainly created with content from local universities.

What are the most popular MOOCs?

It is now known from some MOOCs that the Millions of participants exceeded has been. The most popular online courses are of course held in English due to the international participants.

The largest MOOCs (with up to 1 million learners per course!) Include:

-Introduction to Computer Science (Harvard / edX)

-Learning how to learn (UC San Diego / Coursera)

-Machine Learning (Stanford / Coursera)

-Justice (Harvard / edX)

-The Science of Happiness (Berkeley / edX)

-Intro to Artificial Intelligence (Udacity)

But also from German universities Very successful MOOCs have already been created, some of which have hundreds of thousands of learners worldwide.


Intro video for the popular computer science MOOC from Harvard

How did MOOCs come about?

MOOCs became so popular because they made you massive step towards the digitization of teaching and did educational content.

After examples like Ecommerce in trade and Youtube In the entertainment industry, online technology was suddenly being used in a new form at universities as well.

The largest MOOC platforms today are all from around 2011/12 originated at leading US universities: Professors Anant Agarwal from MIT (edX), Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng from Stanford (Coursera) and Sebastian Thrun also from Stanford (Udacity) were important pioneers at the time.

The pattern was similar in each case:

A university professor offers his lecture as an experiment in digital form and suddenly (and unexpectedly) reaches more than 100,000 participants worldwide. Due to its success, online teaching will then be institutionalized as an independent platform.

Later, the terms were further differentiated into so-called. xMOOCs (many participants), cMOOCs ("Connectivist" approach with fewer participants, but who are themselves more active) or special ones pMOOCs (more job-related for "professionals"). However, the terms are not always clear-cut and actually rather secondary.

Well-known early MOOC experts in German-speaking countries were, for example:

-Prof. Jürgen Handke with online teaching activities e.g. in the field of linguistics,

-Prof. Jörn Loviscach, who creates teaching videos on Youtube in addition to MOOCs in the field of mathematics and

-Prof. Christian Spannagel, who also created an early math MOOC.


What is the business model of the MOOC providers?

The MOOC platforms usually receive income when course participants participate in addition to video learning optional certificate want. This is then usually chargeable.

With this usual on the Internet Freemium model (free content, premium additional service) the MOOC providers finance their business operations. The turnover of the largest platform (Coursera) is estimated at over 100 million USD per year.

Some MOOC platforms also offer individual course series (especially for professional development) only against payment. The providers are still experimenting with different models in their business models.

The Universities and other content creators usually have no specific monetary goal, but use their own MOOCs as a marketing channel. Potential students from all over the world can be reached via the online courses. At the same time, the special experience of a university or a chair in a specific subject can be shown.

Will MOOCs eventually replace universities?

At the beginning of the MOOC wave, there was repeated speculation about whether the free online courses would not go directly to the The decline of traditional universities could lead. The first professors also protested against their feared disempowerment through MOOCs from top universities.

In the meantime this excitement has subsided. MOOCs are more likely than additional technological option seen in modern teaching, for example to convey standard content.

It is undisputed that digitization does not stop at universities and certain of them Bringing changes and opportunities becomes. MOOCs can also be used, for example, to reach those interested in niche subjects that are scattered around the world and for whom face-to-face courses on a single campus would not be worthwhile.

Incidentally, in Germany this development is accompanied by the "Hochschulforum Digitisierung" and scientifically explored by E-Teaching.org.

Online learning and the Digitization of teaching In any case, it will certainly continue to move forward. What role universities will then have in the long term remains to be seen.

Are there any disadvantages to MOOCs?

Whether a MOOC useful for the individual learner is always decided individually.

Depending on the topic, learning environment, learning objective and personal learning style, MOOCs can be extremely helpful or unsuitable.

For you as a MOOC prospect, only one thing helps: try it yourself! (And before that, check out our 5 MOOC learning tips.)

As a general point of criticism is often listed that the Graduation rate is so low for MOOCs (often <10%).

However, it is often forgotten that many learners initially only test a MOOC for the sake of interest (see also: "High abandonment rates for MOOCs: a good sign").

What are the main MOOC trends?

  1. Complete training: There are more and more training-like course series from several MOOCs on one topic (e.g. Specializations at Coursera, MicroMasters at edX and Nanodegrees at Udacity).
  2. Certificates: MOOC providers want to establish their certificates as serious degrees. Offers with academic credits (ECTS) and degrees are also developed by MOOC platforms (e.g. at Coursera, edX, FutureLearn or openHPI).
  3. Business models: MOOC platforms experiment with different sources of revenue. The "freemium" model with paid certificates seems to be gaining acceptance.
  4. Internationalization: MOOCs are created in other languages ​​and countries. And existing English-language MOOCs will be translated.
  5. Learning Analytics: MOOC data are professionally evaluated by the providers in order to continuously improve the courses and learning successes.
  6. Terminology: Some providers are now avoiding the complicated art term "MOOC". It is then more often simply referred to as online courses, online learning or digital teaching.

Edukatico is your search portal for online courses

Still Questions about MOOCs or for online learning? We will try to help you. And you can find them in our course directory thousands of MOOCs and other online courses 22 subject areas.

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