Online education has existed for a while now, but has really taken off in the past year, the Epoch Times reports. Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, as they are referred to, have refueled an interest in higher education like never before, with some courses attracting hundreds of thousands of students of all ages from all over the world. The term MOOC was first coined in the “Connectivism and Connective Knowledge” course offered by the University of Manitoba in 2008. It was taken by 25 students enrolled from within the University, and 2300 students from outside. That is a small number compared to today, as a single MOOC can have over 100,000 students. Just ask Dr. Sebastian Thrun, a Stanford Computer Science professor who taught “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence” in Fall 2011 with a class enrollment of over 160,000 from 190 countries. It led him to establish an online higher education company named Udacity in early 2012. MOOCs are now offered by academic institutions or organizations working with universities, and provide the convenience of a free, world class education in the privacy of one’s home.
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