Defining MOOCs: Nobody Seems to be Agreeing!

Dave Cormier coined the term MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) in 2008. And since then, the term MOOC has been used liberally to denote several different versions of learning delivery and consumption. This is true of any invention. Ideas don’t remain “pure” as new interpretations and the urge to make money takes over. This is not necessarily bad as different interpretations propel ideas to the mainstream and creates new businesses and entire industries.

Let’s look at the definition of MOOC as per Dave Cormier. Here is a video that explains the “pure” definition of MOOC.

Just check out the comments in the video. As you can see, MOOC is now broadly applicable to companies like Udemy and other commercial ventures (categorized as xMOOCs as opposed to cMOOCs, c stands for connectivity). Recently, somebody in Quora asked me to answer if there is SCORM compliant MOOC platforms and I responded. Please see my response and a follow-up answer that appeared.

As you can see, the first “casualty” in the race to make a viable “business” out of MOOC is “openness”. I am till trying to find out if “openness” is defined from a point of view of the student (anybody can have access to the content for free) or is it from an instructor / subject matter expert point of view? Views and thoughts are welcome!

Srinivas Krishnaswamy


I love to read and share thoughts on technology, enterprise learning, mobile and any thing cool that impacts enterprises.

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Posted in MOOCs

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