Two years ago, massive open online courses, known as MOOCs, burst on to the education scene when Stanford University offered a free introductory course in artificial intelligence that attracted more than 120,000 students from around the globe, Newsday reports.

MOOC enrollees now run into the millions, and more students are coming aboard every day.

The excitement of online education is redefining academics in the 21st century and providing the impetus to rethink two issues: How students acquire and retain knowledge, and how they can apply what they've learned to succeed in the workplace.

In a technologically driven world, information is available at the...

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