Massive Open Online Courses that offer free and low cost courses from major universities as well as individual instructors are exploding in popularity. No matter what your age or education level, if you want to learn online, you can. The course offerings range from hobby activities, languages and basic how-tos through to vocational skills and university-level topics, some of which you can get a certificate of achievement for if you complete assessments.

Some MOOC courses are timed – which means you have to complete certain milestones every week, some dictate that you have access for a fixed time period. Some require that you participate, others allow you to audit and download materials to suit your own needs.

Some learning institutions are concerned that people will go through these self-paced courses that often have very little instructor intervention and think they are knowledgeable on a certain topic without putting that knowledge to the test. Other institutions feel that MOOC providers that offer badges and certificates are charging people for what is a worthless statement of attainment as there hasn’t necessarily been institutional rigour applied to the quality of the resources and verification of any assessments.

My research finds

This is a link to my diigo library items tagged with MOOC. As I add to it, it will become more valuable. If you have links to recommend, please let me know.

List of MOOCs

Here is a short list of MOOC providers (I have not included university sites that just offer content):

Coursera – says they partner with “top universities and organisations worldwide” and they “envision a future where everyone has access to a world-class education.” 
edX’s tag line is “Take great online courses from the world’s best universities.” It is a non-profit online initiative created by Harvard and MIT.
Open learning allows individuals, companies and institutions to set up and either charge for courses (on a profit share with Open Learning) or offer free courses.
Udacity focuses on tech skills or skills related to building a tech company. Some courses are free, others charge on a monthly basis ($150-$200 per month) and you finish at your own pace. They are also trialling “nano-degrees” which to me sound like short, intensive vocational courses.
Udemy invites teachers to sign up, get a course online and enter into a profit sharing agreement with them. They also sell their platform to businesses who want to create online courses for internal consumption.
Futurelearn is owned by The Open University and tells users that they “offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world.”

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