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Are MOOCs the long-awaited technological revolution in higher education?
Daniel, John and Uvalić-Trumbić, Stamenka

PublishedOctober 2014
ConferenceDigital Transformations Conference

ABSTRACT
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
RefereedYes
URLhttp://sirjohn.ca/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/141016Montreal_Digital1.pdf
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