When is a MOOC not a MOOC?

Coincidentally, the last three courses I reviewed in the weekly Degree of Freedom News … all elicited similar commentary regarding whether a course felt like a college class vs. something else.mCanvas.net’s Cheating in Online Courses, for example, seemed more like a symposium than a course, while Udacity’s Introduction to Statistics reminded me of one of the many computer-based training programs I’ve taken over the years, ,Degree of Freedom reports.  And a 58-part Art History Survey course from Udemy was similar to the educational experience I had watching Sister Wendy’s Story of Painting on PBS (albeit without the wimple). This is not to say that I didn’t learn a great deal from all three programs (as I have from most if not all of the 20+ courses I’ve either completed or am currently taking).  And given that we still lack a formal definition of what a MOOC consists of, who am I to say which classes are inside or outside the club? I suppose we could say that only courses delivered via edX, Coursera and Udacity get to “count” as MOOCs, but this strikes me as far too narrow and artificial a definition.

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