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MOOCs online courses: Free and open online courses may change the future of higher education

Massive open online courses

University of Maryland to Offer Four Free Courses Through Coursera (Photo credit: University of Maryland Press Releases)

Massive open online courses known as MOOCs are gaining a lot of attention from both students and universities. What began as free open online courses is evolving into a way for schools to attract prospective students and deliver instruction while keeping costs in check. Sometimes referred to as “open courseware,” MOOCs are a phenomena that may change the future of higher education.

The birth of MOOCs

Online education isn’t new but the idea of MOOCs is to open up learning materials to the world-at-large. The result is a course such as the first truly massive MOOC held in 2012. Stanford University professors Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig offered the online course “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence” for free to anyone who wanted to enroll. The number of enrollments swelled to more than 160,000 students in 190 countries. Read more