The OER Knowledge Cloud makes use of cookies. By continuing, you consent to this use. More information.
Are MOOCs the long-awaited technological revolution in higher education?
Daniel, John and Uvalić-Trumbić, Stamenka

PublishedOctober 2014
ConferenceDigital Transformations Conference

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are a portent of the potential of online learning and teaching to transform higher education. The University of Manitoba offered the first online course to bear the name MOOC in 2008. Titled Connectivism and Connective Knowledge it was offered free to 2,300 members of the public with little fanfare. Four years later, in 2012, several elite US universities began offering online courses free to much larger numbers of learners (100,000+) worldwide. This development captured the attention of the news media more than any development in the sector for years, spawning feverish talk about a revolution in higher education.

We begin by commenting on the history of change in higher education, starting in medieval times and pausing on the emergence of the Humboldtian university, the creation of the US Land Grant universities and colleges through the Morrill Act of 1892, the establishment of the UK Open University in 1969 and Europe’s current Bologna Process.

This review shows that higher education has developed by evolution rather than revolution, although this does not lessen the challenges facing those who try to guide the destinies of higher education systems and institutions. Finding and filling a new niche in a rapidly evolving environment may be harder than being caught up in a revolution.

We then examine the phenomenon of MOOCs, ask why they caused such a sensation in 2012, and place them in a historical perspective. MOOCs are just one manifestation of a series of innovations that use the Internet, usually to foster greater openness, which we call ‘post-traditional higher education’. Among these various dimensions of openness are open access to research materials, open admissions, open educational resources, open forms of assessment and credentialing, and open curricula.

Keywords business models · connectivism · credentialing · higher education · MOOC · OER history

Published atMontreal, Quebec
Export optionsBibTex · EndNote · Tagged XML · Google Scholar

141016Montreal_Digital1.pdf · 234KB18 downloads

Viewed by 81 distinct readers


The evaluations below represent the judgements of our readers and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Cloud editors.

Click a star to be the first to rate this document


Changing the trajectory: Quality for opening up education
Creelman, Alastair; Shamarina-Heidenreich, Tatiana; Stracke, Christian M.; Kear, Karen; et al.
The jointly-organised EFQUEL Innovation Forum (EIF) 2014 and International Learning Innovations and Quality (LINQ) Conference took place in Crete on 7-9 May. The event addressed innovations and quality in lifelong ...
Match: Daniel, John; Uvalić-Trumbić, Stamenka

Guidelines for OER in higher education request for comments: OER guidelines for higher education stakeholders
Daniel, John; Uvalić-Trumbić, Stamenka
Match: Daniel, John; Uvalić-Trumbić, Stamenka

International online courses: Issues of global quality assurance, multi-country collaboration and open educational resources
Uvalić-Trumbić, Stamenka; Daniel, John; West, Paul
If international online courses are to play a significant role in the expansion of education they must be placed within a global framework of quality assurance and qualifications recognition that inspires confidence. We ...
Match: Daniel, John; Uvalić-Trumbić, Stamenka

The future of MOOCs: Adaptive learning or business model?
Daniel, John; Vázquez Cano, Esteban; Gisbert, Mercè
Currently, many MOOCs are designed as a collection of videos with a forum using some traditional distance learning models, but they do not promote adaptive and personalized learning. These features, together with the ...
Match: Daniel, John; higher education; MOOC

A basic guide to open educational resources (OER)
Butcher, Neil; Kanwar, Asha; Uvalić-Trumbić, Stamenka
This Guide comprises three sections. The first – a summary of the key issues – is presented in the form of a set of Frequently Asked Questions. Its purpose is to provide readers with a quick and user-friendly ...
Match: Uvalić-Trumbić, Stamenka; higher education; OER history

A policy brief on MOOCs
Porter, David; Beale, Russell; Daniel, John; McGreal, Rory; Prabhakar, T V
A MOOC (massive open online course) is an online course that normally requires no prior qualifications for entry, can be accessed by anyone who has an Internet connection, and includes large or very large numbers of ...
Match: Daniel, John; MOOC

Making sense of MOOCs: Musings in a maze of myth, paradox and possibility
Daniel, John
MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are the educational buzzword of 2012. Media frenzy surrounds them and commercial interests have moved in. Sober analysis is overwhelmed by apocalyptic predictions that ignore the ...
Match: Daniel, John; MOOC

Planning to design MOOC? Think first!
AlDahdouh, Alaa A.; Osório, António J.
Over the last years, educators have been forced to rethink about the whole education system. In 2005, Connectivism, a new learning theory, was emerged. Consequently, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have been ...
Match: connectivism; higher education; MOOC

The battle for open: How openness won and why it doesn’t feel like victory
Weller, M.
With the success of open access publishing, Massive open online courses (MOOCs) and open education practices, the open approach to education has moved from the periphery to the mainstream. This marks a moment of victory ...
Match: higher education; MOOC; OER history

MOOCs and open education around the world
Bonk, Curtis J.; Lee, Mimi Miyoung; Reeves, T C.; Reynolds, Taylor
As new digital forms of formal and informal learning proliferate, there is an increasing need to better understand how people in different regions of the world are implementing massive open online courses (MOOCs) and ...
Match: higher education; MOOC; OER history