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Massive Open Online Courses

Massive open online courses, usually referred to by their acronym, MOOCs, became a media sensation in 2012, when prestigious U.S. higher-education institutions (HEIs) such as Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) built IT (information technology) platforms that allowed them to offer simply constructed courses over the Internet for large numbers of people all around the world. This entry first describes MOOCs and then discusses the early forms of distance learning that led to their creation. It then looks at the early development of MOOCs and how they spread worldwide. Finally, it examines the recent shifts in how MOOCs are funded and the target audiences and topics for MOOCs.

In the acronym MOOC, the term massive describes large numbers of registrants—often more than 100,000 ...

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