What’s a MOOC?

The term “MOOC”, is an acronym for “Massive Open Online Courses”. It consists of online courses open to anyone with an internet connection, usually free and licensed in a way that their contents can always be reused. Most of the material of a MOOC consists of brief videos where an instructor teaches a particular subject, which can be accessed whenever the student wants.

Unlike a recorded class or an online video tutorial, videos in a MOOC are meant to be used in an online course rather than in a traditional classroom, taking advantage of the audiovisual resources now available. Lectures are complemented by online forums and study groups where students form a community interested in the course’s subject. Students can also answer quizzes to check if they have acquired the expected knowledge, but this is not generaly required to follow through the course. This way, the student is who decides how much, when and where he or she participates in the course.

MOOCs began about 6 years ago. The term was coined by Dave Cormier and Bryan Alexander after their online course ” Connectivism and Connective Knowledge ” was taken by more than 2.000 students for free. Since then, MOOCs have normally attracted anywhere from hundreds to thousands of students each. The year 2012 was even called the “year of MOOCs” due to the appearance of numerous platforms that host MOOCs from different universities or even made ​​by lone instructors who want to teach online. From among these platforms, we have chosen Udemy, which currently has more than 2 million users, to host our first course on Human Rights.