MOOC has become an irreversible wave in education. Unprecedented free access and high quality online lectures are spreading throughout the world. In this regard, not only universities but also individuals are eager to jump on the new revolution. Thus, the Sookmyung Times starts to provide its readers with an A to Z about the wave of MOOC. Starting with an introduction in this month’s issue—MOOC of the Month—will be published serially in order to give readers guidance to survive the big surf.
What is MOOC?
MOOC is an acronym that stands for Massive Open Online Course. As the name indicates, MOOC is an online course that is highly accessible. Companies such as Coursera, edX and Udacity are partnered with numerous universities to offer the lectures. Most courses are offered at the university undergraduate level and provide certification without any regular tuition. Thus, people all over the world can attend a worldwide famous scholars’ lecture via the Internet, which fosters increased quality of education, a big problem in today’s Korean society. In-kang* might come to mind when thinking about MOOC; however, MOOCs provide more than just online lectures. They also administer quizzes and require extra readings and participation in discussion forums. Without tuition charges and the need to enroll into a school, lectures from prominent schools can be attended from your own bedroom. As of yet, most universities and companies are not giving academic credit for MOOCs, but more and more schools and companies are adapting MOOCs as a core source of education to improve both quality and quantity of education.
Why Take a MOOC?
The advent of MOOCs corresponds somewhat to that of radio. When the radio first appeared, many people thought it would become the new means of education and replace the existing way of education in the near future. However, one of the biggest problems radio faced was its inability to allow for interaction. Against everyone’s expectation, radio didn’t last long as a breakthrough of new education. However, MOOCs have overcome these problems: they offer great two-way interaction. In fact, far more active communication is conducted through MOOCs than off-line classes. For instance, assignments are scored automatically or peer-reviewed by other students depending on the subject matter and these activities maximize communication between students. Students from all over the world read the essays of other students from totally different backgrounds and then score the assignments in accordance with a provided rubric. Reading comments from other students can be a great opportunity to improve oneself. Also, students elsewhere in the world can be great teachers. What’s more, as one attends a MOOC, there is great advantage to organizing a study group on-line or off-line to facilitate and direct one to achieve his/her goal. (If you want to organize a study group, you can find help on the website of Korea Center for Digital Humanities at Sookmyung Women’s University.)
* In-kang is an abbreviated Korean word from Internet Kang-ui, which means Internet lecture.