A massive open online course (MOOC /muËk/) is an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web. In addition to traditional course materials, such as filmed lectures, readings, and problem sets, many MOOCs provide interactive courses with user forums to support community interactions among students, professors, and teaching assistants (TAs), as well as immediate feedback to quick quizzes and assignments. MOOCs are a recent and widely researched development in distance education, first introduced in 2006 and emerged as a popular mode of learning in 2012.
Early MOOCs often emphasized open-access features, such as open licensing of content, structure and learning goals, to promote the reuse and remixing of resources. Some later MOOCs use closed licenses for their course materials while maintaining free access for students.
Before the Digital Age, distance learning appeared in the form of correspondence courses in the 1890sâ1920s and later radio and television broadcast of courses and early forms of e-learning. Typically fewer than five percent of the students would complete a course. The 2000s saw changes in online, or e-learning and distance education, with increasing online presence, open learning opportunities, and the development of MOOCs. By 2010 audiences for the most popular college courses such as "Justice" with Michael J. Sandel and "Human Anatomy" with Marian Diamond were reaching millions.
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