In 2012 we saw increased interest in open courses with press coverage focusing mainly on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). However, despite their renewed prominence they have been around for several years. Here we cover some of the background
MOOCs are generally specifically designed as an open course and are aimed at a global level. Open Educational Resources (OERs) can be used as source materials or created as part of the learning activities in open courses. On these courses people become co-producers and co-consumers of content and roles and boundaries become blurred.
There are a range of different models for open courses, and they are not all Massive (in a student numbers sense). Structure may be imposed or not, assessment may be included or not, learners can be fully open or registered paying students.
Newcastle University ran an event on 5th February 2012 aimed at senior managers and policy makers in UK universities who might be considering MOOCs for any one of a number of reasons. A different kind of report in that it includes the tweets from the event so giving an extra dimension of thoughts and ideas from delegates.
Are MOOCs that utilise one of the commercial platforms actually open? An examination of the IP and copyright statements from the main players reveals this not to be the case and so if you are considering using one of these sites, read the Terms of Service very carefully.