The acronym MOOC means “Massive Open Online Courses” currently concerning university but we hope that, in a near future, they can also spread to high school, technical institutes and vocational training.
In the United States many experiments are being conducted on a large scale on the MOOC. Great American universities such as MIT, Harvard , Berkeley and Stanford, are competing with each other for the development of online teaching programs. They will be perfect from all points of view: the quality of the work group , the evaluation and neutralization of copying.
Philanthropists and specific foundations as well as numerous brand-new start-ups offer their services to develop applications involving thousandsof students.
Very similar to the concept of ” OpenCourseWare “, which has as its sole purpose to provide the material for all the courses, the MOOCs are characterized by the attempt to develop some real training courses with online homework for users.
It’s simple, the students must look a very short video lesson (lasting no more than 10-15 minutes), and then do a homework, which is evaluated by other students by your computer.
Today it is difficult to predict how these programs will change the scenario of teaching, but it’s sure that trials involving thousands of students and people around the world, allow the collection of valuable information concerning the progress of the courses, the strengths and the weaknesses allowing students to modify the procedures so as to achieve convincing results.
The turnout has been amazing and the online courses are now an expanding reality.
An example may be the course sponsored by Stanford University titled “Designing a new learning environment”
Until now no university deliver any certificate for MOOC courses, but small steps are being made towards this goal.
This has been confirmed by the decision taken by the “American Council on Education” the main university agency in the States, to evaluate MOOC programs. A dozen of courses offered by Coursera are being analyzed to see if teaching is equivalent to that given in academic readings or seminars.
This in order to decide whether to accredit the courses taken by students online. If it will come true, it will be a great achievement!
In Italy, the first university that joined the project in 2013 was the International Telematic University UniNettuno, then to followed by the University “Guglielmo Marconi ” and the University of Rome “La Sapienza”.
It is worth following the development of these courses to see how they will evolve, and to witness the birth of the online school !