The last couple of days I attended the EDEN15 conference in Barcelona. During a couple of sessions people mentioned alternative acronyms to MOOCs, such as mMOOC, cMOOC, sMOOC, xMOOC. Can we please stop with all these acronyms! It is a MOOC or an Online Course.
The starting point of designing an Online Course are the learning objectives you want students to reach. With those you will start designing the learning activities and assessment. In the design process you have to be aware of the context of the course, such as the subject, lecturers, duration, expected audience, language and more.
The result should be a high-quality online course that will help students reach their learning goals.
One of the specific feature of a MOOC is the massiveness. This means that in the design proces you will keep in mind that the course can be run with 500 students, but also with 50,000 students without extra teaching effort. This can also be useful for some campus courses, although the number will be a little bit smaller.
For me Open means free access (via internet) to the course AND the right (under some condition) to retain, reuse, revise, remix, redistribute the course materials. Unfortunately most moocs are limit to the first part.
US vs European MOOCs
In the European MOOC world there is a tendency to be very negative about the US MOOCs. I think that you underestimate the MOOCs on the US platforms and overestimate the European MOOCs. My experience is that on both sides of the pond there are really good MOOCs and really bad MOOCs. The quality of a MOOCs is not depending on the platform, but on the lecturers and the course development team.
The people that are affilitiated to the open universities express this negative thought quiet often. According yesterday's keynote speaker Alan Tait this has to do with that the introduction of MOOCs was very painful for the open universities: "Major MOOC platforms not from open universities". I think he has a very valid point here, open universities have always been in the lead in innovation in technology enhanced learing and now the 'conventional universities' are taking over. That must hurt!