We have lost the term ‘MOOC’

I have argued the futility of continuing to call the connectivist-style online courses by the term MOOC.

Rolin Moe, doctoral candidate at Pepperdine University

In popular culture MOOC means Udacity, Coursera, or EdX, and Andrew Ng’s keynote on Wednesday showed the tone-deafness of the dominant paradigm.

At #OpenEd13, debate continued among the group of experts (and this conference was full of experts) regarding how we properly define a MOOC, akin to the debate at Educause where Mathieu Plourde argued that every term in the acronym is negotiable.

My argument at #OpenEd13 is that such thinking is counter-productive to the political and cultural conversation about distance, online, and open education: those of us in that world are still arguing about the definition, but in the mainstream the ship has sailed, and we need to accept that the term MOOC no longer means what it did in 2008.

This does not mean that what MOOC meant is lost; far from it.

George Siemens, Alec Couros, Alan Levine, Jim Groom and others did not initially brand their courses as MOOCs. Much like my use of MOOCseum, the term in many ways is now used by those with connectivist sensibilities to pitch and market the course.

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