Since 2012, the popularity of Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) in higher education has skyrocketed. These courses, which have expanded the distance learning phenomenon, have enhanced assess and affordability which are two of higher education’s greatest issues. They are low in cost or free and allow non-traditional students, veterans, professionals and others who don’t have the opportunity to sit in a classroom the ability to learn.
While MOOCs have become the new trend in learning, Historically Black Colleges and Universities have been left out of the picture until recently. Dr. Kevin Augustus Burton, Professor at Oakwood University in collaboration with the Center for Excellence in Distance Learning at Wiley College created the first HBCU developed MOOC entitled : Understanding World Religions: An Occupational Approach. In 2012 two other HBCUs, Alcorn State University and Morgan State University announced plans to develop MOOCs by early 2013 but neither opportunity manifested.
According to the article featured in Diverse Issues in Higher Education, Dr. Burton hopes that this course will expand beyond the HBCU arena and into a more global and diverse population.