By David Wells, editor at Surviving the OU

David’s recently moooved into the world of Future Learn and he’s not the only one

For some reason whenever I see the acronym MOOC I immediately think of this…..


Sorry about that bad joke. As you may know I’ve recently signed up for a MOOC through Future Learn, powered by the Open University .

A MOOC, also called Massive Open Online Course, is a subsidiary form of distant learning. It aims at providing open access to useful data and unlimited participation of interested applicants in courses they may otherwise not commit too. MOOCs often have predefined readings and filmed lectures that act as interactive forums to provide community support among professors, assistants, instructors and students. Introduced in 2008 as a research development program, now it is one of the top most acquired online education formats, with accessibility features like learning goals and licensed content of all kind.

That’s the jargon bit out of the way then and from personal experience I can say that so far I have only taken the one course but I like the setup and way the information is presented. The course load was tough but not excessive and I was required to dedicate around four hours per week to my studies. Turns out I’m not the only one going this educational route and if anything, I’m even a little late to the party.

Within a period of eight years, more than thirty five million people from all continents have been enrolled in MOOCs. In online forums, approximately forty-two-thousand different MOOC course outlines can be seen, which also include corporate training from different companies like Lynda, NovoEd, Skillsoft and Pluralsight. Popular choices in MOOC courses include subjects like engineering, computer sciences and corporate sciences. These academic-authored well-versed curriculums vary widely to ensure personality development and also serve to enhance managerial skills in the finance and business sector. My course was in Spanish language so nothing quite as grandiose as all that.

All kinds of data can be acquired for taking a MOOC test. An applicant only requires suitable credentials to be registered as a MOOC student. Test formats and accreditation is accessed after an online or offline transaction of a course fee. Worldwide popular MOOC providers include Credentials of Readiness (sourced by Harvard university), Nanodegrees, Xseries, and much more.

Increasing trends of MOOC courses has led to new video-based modes of self-study. For those people who are more comfortable in listening to lectures rather than reading them, video lectures by an online professor are readily available. Popular providers of these video lectures include Lynda, SkillSoft, BigThink and Udemy. Many providers specialize in providing video lectures for specific subjects. For example, IT system education is mostly provided by Pluralsight, General Assembly, SkillShare and Iversity. Many providers become famous because they are recommended in famous corporate magazines, like Forbes.

Some of the reasons behind the incredible growth of MOOCs includes:

-Easy and hassle free access to technical content from any device

Many IT departments have blocked informative content because they feel that they should not be made available for free. However, if you find a MOOC source and successfully register, you can access a large chunk of information, which you may not acquire through traditional learning methods. Plus, the data can be made available in any place, which saves you from the hassle of travelling and attending lectures. It is time saving, plus you can schedule your study according to your choice.

-Freemium business models

Internet content and the online world is not what it was back in the early 2000s. Now, a lot of content has been plagiarized and multiplied in the race to make money. This has led to a lot of false information being put on display as well. For this reason, many courses have denied open access to their archives and charge a large amount of money to take the course. With freemium business models, a lot of content is offered via a free trial. A chunk of highlighted information is offered as free data. If someone is interested in further learning, they are then charged to access highly defined accreditation, content and further offerings. This vary from institution to institution.

That’s Part Two over with, check back on the blog because Part Three of his mini-series is coming very soon where we’ll be looking at the increasing and interest role of young students…

Have you taken a MOOC yet? How did you find it? Please LIKE/SHARE/TWEET or leave a comment below, we would love to hear from you. This social currency helps us to grow and improve the value we are able to provide for Open University students.

The Open University study guide is now available! Click on this image to find out more.

The Open University study guide is now available! Click on this image to find out more.