What makes a MOOC successful

MOOC: Education for Everyone!

The internet has always been a virtual one Place of knowledge exchange. More than ever today, people are asking the World Wide Web to get information. “Googling” has long been an established term and Wikipedia is the lexicon of choice for many users. Almost all of the world's knowledge is available to everyone online. But most of the time you are left to your own devices: Often the information is insufficiently prepared for learners and there are seldom opportunities to ask questions about the topic.

It is completely different at schools and universities: You approach a topic together with others, teachers set accompanying tasks and provide answers to questions from students. A MOOC tries that Advantages of both worlds to connect: interactivity paired with the open access of the Internet.

The acronym MOOC stands for "Massive Open Online Course". The four parts of the term provide a good approximation of the essence of online seminars:

  • Massive: Thanks to the digital possibilities, MOOCs are not tied to local restrictions. That means: In many seminars there is no limited number of participants, since everyone takes a seat in front of their home PC anyway. This means that MOOCs can accommodate between 100 and several 100,000 students and can therefore truly be described as “massive”.

  • Open: There are admission restrictions for universities in many departments. Only those who achieve a certain average grade in the Abitur are allowed to choose completely freely. Non-university training, on the other hand, is often very expensive. Both are omitted in MOOCs. The courses are free to impart knowledge and are therefore open to everyone, regardless of the income level, what culture you come from or what educational qualification you have: Anyone with Internet access can take part in the courses.

  • On-line: The seminars work entirely on the Internet. MOOCs have a lot in common with distance universities: location-independent provision of learning materials. You combine this with the numerous possibilities of e-learning. The internet-based publication of the materials gives the lecturers the opportunity to use digital pedagogical means.

  • Course: MOOCs are often not just dull presentations. There are also examples of classic frontal teaching, but most of the offers tend to focus on the concept of a course or a seminar. Instead of simply consuming knowledge, students at MOOCs should become active themselves. For example, many online courses include: B. also homework and final exams.

MOOCs have existed around 2008, when the two pioneers in the field of e-learning, George Siemens and Stephen Downes, put what was probably the first MOOC on the Internet. Its topic was still directly related to the principle behind learning via the Internet: Connectivism and Connective Knowledge. From there, more and more scientists have followed the example and have Teaching materials and lectures are publicly available made. MIT and Stanford University in particular recognized the potential of MOOCs early on and offered courses online.

Private companies have also recognized the opportunities. So offer z. B. Udacity and Coursera platforms to take university-level courses. The companies themselves do not create their own MOOCs, but work together with lecturers and universities. Such platforms offer the courses despite the economic interests mostly free at. However, participants can take an exam at the end of a course and receive a certificate if they pass. After all, companies charge fees for this award.

The range of MOOCs is broad. While the first courses were mainly in the field of computer science, you can now take seminars in all subject areas. The largest selection Of course you have if you can also visit MOOCs in English. But there is now also a wide range in German. Many courses are about a comprehensive transfer of knowledge, but some (e.g. a large part of the Udacity offer) are designed to prepare for work and are based on the practical implementation of what has been learned.