MASSIVE ONLINE COURSES (MOOCS) AND THEIR ROLE IN THE DIGITALIZED ERA
MOOC, “Massive Open Online Course” is a term coined in 2008 by George Siemens and Stephen Downes after carrying out the online course CCK08 (Fini, 2009) that succeeded a number of previously successful OOCs (Fini et al., 2008). They have emerged, challenging existing methods and approaches and were developed from the traditions of distance and self-access learning. Their structure was inspired by the philosophy of connectivism, and the implementation requires conceptual changes in perspective from both “facilitators” (tutors) and learners.
MOOCs have become an integral part of current teaching and learning processes. This change in education is due to the increase in access to technology and from a will to increase access to education (Manning, C., Morrison, B. R., & McIlroy, T., 2014). McAuley, et al. (2010), refer the c-MOOCs characteristics as “An online phenomenon gathering momentum over the past two years or so, a MOOC integrates the connectivity of social networking, the facilitation of an acknowledged expert in a field of study, and a collection of freely accessible online resources. Perhaps most importantly, however, a MOOC builds on the active engagement of several hundred to several thousand “students” who self-organize their participation according to learning goals, prior knowledge and skills, and common interests.” MOOCs are not recent phenomena. They have been developing successfully since 2008, and provide not only more learning opportunities but also improve the learning experience (Gaebel, 2013). As it has been said before, MOOCs have been developed from previously existing forms of learning. However, they have acquired their particular characteristics, which distinguish them from other ways of learning and can be characterised as follows (Gaebel, 2013):
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