Where all my MOOC's at?

The online education movement continues to steam along as more higher learning institutions across the nation establish online classes and programs and edtech companies create online tools on a near daily basis. The most recent facet of this movement are MOOCs - Massive Open Online Courses:


  1. The first MOOC was "officially" created in 2007 by Utah State University professor, David Wiley, for one of his graduate classes. He opened the course to anyone in the world for participation. Several professors from different institutions followed suit but the idea of MOOCs didn't take off until the fall of 2011 when Sebastian Thrun, a Stanford professor, offered his Introduction to Artificial Intelligence class through his startup, Know Labs. In less than a month, there were approximately 160,000 students from more than 190 countries taking the free course. The startup was later renamed to Udacity. There are now 14 free courses available on Udacity, with more than 110,000 registered students and instructors making up its community.
  2. Shortly after Thrun launched his class, two Stanford professors, Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller, launched their own form of MOOC called Cousera. Ng's m1-class, a mechanical learning class, was one of the first offered through Coursera and quickly garnered 100,000 students. There are currently 195 courses offered through Coursera with nearly 1.5 million registered users.
  3. Not far behind, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology launched MITx, with its first course, 6.002x (Circuits and Electronics) made available March 2012. A few months later, Harvard agreed to collaborate with MIT. MITx was then renamed to edX. There are currently seven courses available through edX - three from MIT, two from Harvard, and two from its newest member, UC Berkeley.
  4. What's next for MOOCs? The great thing about these classes is that they are taught by professors from Stanford, Duke, Princeton, MIT, Harvard, and other top-tier institutions and are free - however, they do not count toward a degree nor do they count for credit. But this may be changing as Colorado State University-Global Campus recently decided that students taking a computer science class through Udacity will be counted as credit for transfer. The CSU announcement may have started the trend that was undoubtedly on its way.