According to Kolowich (2013), when Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology’ presidents decided to started using edX, which they believed will improve their teaching, not take the traditional teaching place. Many professors consider that massive open online courses (MOOCs) help them improve the performance of classroom teaching. Among them is M. Ronen Plesser, an associate professor of physics at Duke University, “I found that producing video lectures spurred me to hone pedagogical presentation to a far higher level than I had in 10 years of teaching the class on campus,” he said. The professors can develop their teaching ways through the students’ interaction while using MOOCs. For example, know which methods and resources are useful or useless for students’ learning. Michael J. Cima, a professor of materials science and engineering at MIT, collected data from his MOOC to analyze the chemistry students’ outcomes of learning. “I have evidence that the online measurements of outcomes may be better than what we have been doing in class,” he said. So the MOOC helps professors teach better, and helps students to get better learning.
Chen, Barnett, and Stephens (2013) say that MOOCs have been built on three major characteristics: massiveness, openness, and a connectivist philosophy. Massiveness: more than a million students around the world have taken MOOCs, meaning MOOCs can contain large numbers of students. An example of MOOCs massiveness is the 160,000 students that have enrolled in the artificial intelligence course that has been developed and managed by Stanford faculty Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig (Martin, 2012). Openness: “Openness involves several key concepts: software, registration, curriculum, and assessment; communication including interaction, collaboration, and sharing; and learning environments” (Chen, Barnett & Stephens, 2013). The students who use MOOCs have an interactive and open learning environment. Connectivist: in MOOCs, the connectivism means autonomy, diversity, openness, and interactivity (Rodriguez, 2012). Connectivism teaching strategies give an instructor the knowledge to conduct the role of facilitator with students actively interacting with other students. So the keys of MOOC instructional methods are active engagement and interaction.
1- Chen, X., Barnett, D. R., & Stephens, C. (2013). Fad or future: The advantages and challenges of massive open online courses (MOOCs). In Research-to Practice Conference in Adult and Higher Education (pp. 20-21). Retrieved from: https://library.lindenwood.edu/r2p/docs/ChenBarnettStephens.pdf
2- Martin, F. G. (2012). Will massive open online courses change how we teach? Communications of the ACM, 55(8), 26-28. doi: 10.1145/2240236.2240246
3- Rodriguez, C. O. (2012). MOOCs and the AI-Stanford like courses: Two successful and distinct course formats for massive open online courses. European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning. Retrieved from http://www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/EJ982976.pdf
4- Kolowich, S. (2013a, March 21). The minds behind the MOOCs. The professors who make the MOOCs. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from: http://chronicle.com/article/The-Professors-Behind-theMOOC/137905/#id=overview