Massive open online courses are a relatively new version Open Courses. These are FREE online courses you can actually sign up for and take with others at various universities and other learning institutions offering them.
MMOCs are different then traditional Opencourseware because they let you actually sign up and take the classes where as typical opencourseware is just stuff the universities and institutions put online for free as a learning material… typically in the past opencourseware was sort of historical artifacts from past classes that are now open for the world to look at such as recordings of classes, syllabus, texts that professors put together, reading lists covered in various classes, etc.
MOOCs are different because these are classes you actually sign up for, and do homework for as they are in progress, etc. A nice aggregator I’ve found for opencourses can be found at http://www.class-central.com/
. It’s nice because it lists classes from several of the places offering them instead of just the classes at one location.
Here’s a nice list with links related to more traditional Opencoursware locations around the internet:
On a side note, currently there is a huge debate going on with the University of Missouri and several other universities in regard to whether a syllabus is a copyright protected document or not. The trial will be starting in a few weeks. The issue has been in the local papers for the last year or two since the issue came to light. It looks like those instigating the suit have been keeping a blog about the issue. It will be interesting to see what comes of this lawsuit. If the courts side with nctq many more courses might become available to the public as opencourses even at universities that don’t want to open their courses to this type of thing.
Second side note:
As far as I know, the University of Missouri, including UMKC does NOT do opencourseware or MOOCs. However, you’d think UMKC would be interested in doing it since soon Google’s super high speed fiber will be in Kansas City. Having that much bandwidth available would be a fantastic thing for a place offering MOOCs. Something like that might have kept the recent Coursera problem from happening.
Maybe behind the scenes, the google fiber thing will increase the speed at Universities in the area due to the Internet 2 consortium?
However, it’s highly doubtful this type of thing results in ‘free classes’ for the masses… It would be nice if it would though.