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Free online courses are also known as Massive or Massively Open online Courses(MOOCs) is a recent development of distance education.They simply refer to free courses offered by some institutions, organizations etc via the web (online). MOOCs are aimed at a large-scale interactive participation. Mooc providers provide interactive user forums that help build a community for the students, professors, and teaching assistants (TAs) to interact and share ideas.
With just your computer and an internet connection, you can join an open online course from any part of the world.
MOOCs originated about 2008 within the open educational resources (or OER) movement.
The majority of the original lessons were based on connectivist theory, which put an emphasis that learning and knowledge emerge from a network of connections. The term “MOOC” was coined in 2008 during a course called “Connectivism and Connective Knowledge” that was presented to 25 tuition-paying students in Extended Education at the University of Manitoba in addition to 2,300 other students from the general public who took the online class free of charge.All course content was available through RSS feeds, and learners could participate with their choice of tools: threaded discussions in Moodle, blog posts, Second Life, and synchronous online meetings. The term was coined by Dave Cormier of the University of Prince Edward Island, and Senior Research Fellow Bryan Alexander of the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education in response to the course designed and led by George Siemens of Athabasca University and Stephen Downes of the National Research Council (Canada).
Currently,there are about 450 MOOCs currently available worldwide, according to a research by Ray Schroeder, director of the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service at the University of Illinois—Springfield.
However, one needs to be wary of the kind of MOOC providers he or she signs up with. Not all MOOC providers offer certificates or diplomas that are well recognized.
Reputable MOOC providers (which are only mentioned on this site)connects students to free online courses delivered by lecturers or professors from some top notch Universities or colleges.