What Is A MOOC?


The UK’s major institutions of higher learning have now signed up to a project that aims to educate the world for free. All you need is on-line access.

A university education does not come cheap: courses have to be paid for, then there is accommodation, travel, etc. If you are studying to be a doctor, a microbiologist or some such, distance learning is not a practical option. But many subjects are suitable for studying at home, part-time as and when you like. Enter the MOOC. The acronym stands for Massive Open Online Course, and now the UK will be offering MOOCs free to anyone in the world who has on-line access.

There is already a free University of YouTube of sorts, now institutions of higher learning here have set up a project called FutureLearn. Universities and Science Minister David Willetts is an enthusiastic supporter.

There is already a lot out there besides YouTube, for example the massive Internet Archive which gives us “universal access to knowledge”.

FutureLearn is a truly magnificent concept. How long with it be before other countries jump on board, like China and India with their combined population of over two billion?

[The above article was first published September 19, 2013. The associated photograph taken outside the British Library was neither taken by nor submitted by me.]

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