As the name implies, massive open online courses or MOOCs are online courses that are intended to serve massive numbers of learners (essentially unlimited but often in the tens of thousands) and are open to all who wish to take them. MOOCs generally target academic topics, are organized around the traditional structure of the course, and are typically associated with a formal institution such as a university. Arguably, MOOCs have become one of the largest environments for out-of-school learning. This entry first discusses the initial development of MOOCs and the different models that have emerged for the courses since then. It then discusses the shift to offering MOOCs for college credit, the influence of the courses in K–12 education, the establishment of a standardized ...

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