(Massive Open Online Course)

Brief (very brief) history of MOOCs


Hi, I'm Sergio Lujan Mora, professor at the University of Alicante, and in this video I will tell you some details about the recent history of MOOCs.

The MOOCs are a new way of teaching and learning that has just born and, therefore, they are in a process of transformation and settlement and no one can categorically say what a MOOC is.

In 2000, two initiatives appeared, Fhatom and AllLearn, which had many of the characteristics of current initiatives such as Coursera or edX, so that they should be considered as the first MOOCs.

However, it is often observed 2007 as the year of the first MOOC, when David Wiley, professor at Utah State University, opened an official course taught to anyone who wanted to participate. In this course, 50 online students from 8 countries joined the five face students.

The term MOOC was coined in 2008 by Dave Cormier from the University of Prince Edward Island in Canada.

But without a doubt, 2012 will go down in history as the year of MOOCs, the year of the Massive Open Online Courses.

The first MOOC to be very successful was the course "Artificial Intelligence" by Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig from Stanford University in the fall of 2011. In this course, more than 160,000 people around the world signed up to learn jointly, the first time in history that a course met so many students.

It's worth visiting the testimonials section of this course and to realize the impact it had on thousands of people.

Following this success, Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig founded the company Udacity, which provides a platform that any university can use to offer MOOCs.

Why would a professor leave his position at Stanford University to start a business with an uncertain future? The answer can be read in an article in The New York Times, in which Sebastian Thrun said:

"Having done this, I can't teach at Stanford again. I feel like there's a red pill and a blue pill, and you can take the blue pill and go back to your classroom and lecture to your 20 students. But I've taken the red pill, and I've seen Wonderland."

In the spring of 2012, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, began offering its first course on circuits and electronics in its MITx platform. More than 120,000 students from around the world signed up for this course to learn together.

On May 2, 2012, MIT and Harvard University announced a joint project called EdX. Both institutions, perhaps the best universities worldwide, joined and promised they would offer free courses over the Internet.

And they are doing it, in a collaborative project that seeks to break the mold of traditional college education.

But they are not the only one...

Other institutions are offering similar courses. In addition, MOOC portals have been created, as Coursera or Udacity, offering courses from universities around the world.

The MOOCs have been described as a "revolution in education" and the truth is that if the expectations they are creating are met, it will mean the biggest change in the way we teach and learn from the past 500 years.

In our society, the knowledge society, knowledge needs are increasing, causing a massive need for learning and training, which are embodied in what has been called the "lifelong learning" or, in Spanish, "educación permanente".

This massive need for training has been demonstrated by the success in number of students that have taken many MOOC courses.

In the past, the knowledge acquired by a person during his training period during his youth allowed him to play a profession for the rest of his life without drastic changes; however, at present, the constant scientific and technological progress and its impact on society and everyday life is forcing us to be constantly learning and adapting to keep pace with change.

This is where the MOOCs seems to have found its main reason for existence, in a large population eager to learn but has difficulties in learning through the traditional media.

And to close this video, a few words of Anat Agarwal, edX current president and professor of the first MOOC course taught at MIT on circuits and electronics.

"I think we can work with one billion people around the world and change the essence of education, because it has not really changed in 1,000 years."

And this is the end of the video that I've told you some details of the brief history of MOOCs.

If you need more information or want to contact me, you can find more information on web accessibility and web development in my web pages and or you can also contact me directly through my email address or via my Twitter account @sergiolujanmora.

Thank you very much for your attention.