Should the C in MOOC Stand for Classroom?


Last summer, David Wiley on expressed the issues he has with courses that are described as MOOCs. Although it looks like all these Massive Open Online Courses are in fact online, not all courses described as a MOOC are "open" (see And not all of them are "massive" (What number means "massive" anyway? Some of the courses don't even try to be courses in the way we commonly use the term (see

I read a post by John Connell where he suggests that we might want to transform the C in MOOC from Course to Class­room. 

Maybe the real impact of MOOCs will be that they actually transform more than online learning and how we define courses. A lot of people think of  Cours­era or Udac­ity when they hear MOOC, but Stephen Downes, George Siemens, Dave Cormier and others didn't really seem to have envisioned what we have now when they were experimenting with online courses that were open and allowed large numbers of people to join. Those early MOOCs were open, exper­i­men­tal, con­nec­tivist and attempts to use the Inter­net to change the nature of education.

When you make the C into a course, then we all start thinking about things like grades, assessment, credits and all that comes with those things. But a classroom is really just a place. I met with a 4-H club in a classroom. I taught adult school in a classroom. I met with other poets in a basement classroom. And none of those were "courses."

So, maybe we should say these are Massive Open Online Classrooms. Come on in. Sit down. Let's talk about things.


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