Thursday, May 10, 2012

What Is a M.O.O.C. And How Can It Help?

Learning can be difficult when it is restrained by traditional schedules and courses must be taken in a physical location. With the internet making communication and data more readily accessible, the classroom has begun to extend beyond the traditional walls of an educational institution. Now, classes can be located online where shared communication can take place and mass amounts of education can be spread across different platforms instantaneously. Known as Massive Open Online Courses or an M.O.O.C., these courses provide access, interaction, and a depth of knowledge that is taking the collegiate level of learning by storm.

What Is a M.O.O.C.?

A M.O.O.C., as described above, is a type of interactive classroom that includes the internet as a backdrop for learning. Though it need not be accessed through a physical classroom, this educational setting is increasingly being used by institutions of higher learning as a way to reach out to different students that may not be located in the region. The learning setting is relatively, starting in the middle to late 2000s, and was based on a learning theory that believed that access was the way to creating a true knowledge exchange. Many of the courses offered in this type of educational setting are free to users and often do not require a fee to participate. They teach the same coursework as many other traditional institutions but in a more global approach. The goal is not to share the information simply to share it but to provide information that can be discussed and analyzed by those from varying walks of life. The result is an immense amount of both interpersonal and social sharing that is simply impossible in a setting that is limited in the number of students that participate, such as in a physical classroom that must limit the number of students.

The Future of M.O.O.C.

Online courses in the M.O.O.C. structure are not expected to go away any time soon. 2012 was dubbed the year of the Massive Open Online Courses because of their increased popularity. Schools are choosing to use this for several different reasons. The first, as noted above, is to create a more globalist approach to learning. Schools understand that online courses that reach out to different clients and those around the world can provide students with an opportunity to share and to gain access to information that had not been available to them prior. Further, a school reaching out in this setting-again, often free-can increase the respect of the institution and ultimately provide a larger client base or network of students. Online courses themselves have increased for closed institutional use. That means that students attending a venue have already found a strong presence on campus. The new open structure of the massive open online course is a natural extension of that. It also represents an increase in the recognition of many institutions of higher learning and individuals in academia that there is a need for a global perspective in learning.

Where To Go

There are several great locations to find out more about the massive open structure of online coursework. Among them are institutions of higher learning themselves which may be leading or providing discussion in such a setting. If this is not the traditional approach that an individual seeks, there is also another way to find the perfect massive classroom for their learning goals. It is possible to use the internet to find a network of classes that can provide the information and knowledge necessary to find a perfect class to meet the needs of an individual or to focus on a select topic.