Further to my brief Coursera post, Allison Morris kindly offered me to share a nice chart focused on MOOCs or Massive Open Online Courses.
Here is the link to the chart at Online Courses blog where it is published with resolution best for reading. Click 'READ MORE' to see some of my prima facie thoughts on the matter.From the standpoint of social sciences MOOCs appear to be an interesting (if not to say striking) multiaspect phenomenon. To name but a few facets close to the direction of my research:
Culture. MOOCs can be viewed as a logical consequence of information society development. To the large extent MOOCs implement recent trend of gamification, the sources of which (as I would dare to say) pertain to the middle of XXth century and first computer games.
Politics. It is yet unclear what the attitude of state authorities to MOOCs will be as such courses may be interpreted as softly taking away some of the public monopoly on education deriving from the reproductional needs of a social system (I am partly following Talcott Pasons' methodology). Besides this, MOOCs clearly are both cause and effect of globalization.
Law. My wild guess is that most jurisdictions do not yet recognize MOOCs as any kind of official qualification. On the other hand, the standard civilized legal way would exclude strict control of such courses as well. Perhaps, we will see a king of moderate approach soon which will provide some general rules for MOOCs results to be recognized officially.
Education. Probably, this is the field where MOOCs are most direct game-changers for they are an acme of distant learning and associated technologies. Virtual institutions run much ahead of the 'real' ones, and we may expect classic academic institutions to borrow some of MOOCs experience soon.
Have you tried an MOOC? What is your opinion?