MOOCs – their value in the HE sector



What is a MOOC?

  • It is a course of study made available over the Internet without charge to a very large number of people. There are over 700 different courses created by different services and over 8 million students taking MOOC courses from over 225 different countries. The best thing about MOOC courses is that they are available to everyone. The main purpose of  a MOOC is to promote independence and innovative thinking.



The cost of taking a MOOC course

MOOC courses are free for anyone who is able to access a MOOC online course from anywhere in the world. The aim of a MOOC course is to deliver higher education for people who cannot attend university but want to achieve a degree of the same level. However if you want to receive credit from a specific university there may be a fee involved.  Top universities such as Harvard and Stanford all credit MOOC courses.

The advantages of a MOOC course:

  • It is a cost effective way of gaining a qualification/degree
  • Able to reach a large number of learners beyond universities.
  • The forums allow work to be peer reviewed by a range of people
  • Able to learn when you want and where you want as the MOOC course allows 24 hour access to learning
  • MOOC courses are FREE learning which appeals to a range of people
  • MOOC are available in multiple languages so users can take courses in alternative languages if they want to
  • MOOCs enable users to learn at their own pace and fit it in with their own schedule so it will accommodate peoples busy schedules.

The disadvantages of a MOOC course:

  • In the overall scheme of education a MOOC degree is low in value in comparison to a degree
  • 90% of students do not finish a MOOC course
  • Not everyone has access to the internet so not all people can access a MOOC course.
  • People who take MOOC courses need to be extremely self motivated to complete the tasks in order to pass the assignments set.
  • People may have to set self motivating goals to get through the MOOC course
  • Participants create their own content during a MOOC course which can feel unstructured and at times chaotic.
  • People who want to take a MOOC course need digital literacy skills.

Overall a MOOC is an advantage to people who have a busy time schedule and want to achieve a qualification. However it is not the equivalent to a degree so students would find it more beneficial to complete a degree course rather than  MOOC as employers find it more credible to have a degree compared to a MOOC qualification.














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