Purdue University is just now dipping its proverbial toe in the water when it comes to the hottest development in distance learning — massive open online courses — that is gaining favor among elite universities, the Journal and Courier reports. And that’s exactly the way Purdue’s top officials like it. Massive open online courses, or MOOCs, are online courses designed to broadcast open-source educational content to global audiences, often for free and no credit. The online courses dominated higher education news last week as edX, the not-for-profit MOOC provider founded by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard, announced Tuesday that it more than doubled its number of university partners. Those partners include University of California-Berkeley, Georgetown University and several international schools.