Keep up, keep up. If you’ve only just caught on to the concept of online university courses called MOOCs, then you’re in danger of falling behind again, the BBC reports.

Harvard, one of the world’s most influential universities, is moving on to Spocs – which stands for small private online courses. Nothing to do with Star Trek and sombre Vulcans, but plenty to do with ambitions “to boldly go”.

And could these be the real deal? The academic chairing Harvard’s online experiments says we are already “post-MOOC”.

MOOCs – massive open online courses – have been something of a hurricane in universities, making a lot of noise and promising to rip everything up.

Pioneered by some of the most prestigious US universities, they have been re-packaging course units into online lessons and making them available to anyone with an internet connection.

But it’s still not clear whether this is a passing storm or something that will fundamentally change how higher education is delivered.

Last week the UK joined the fray, with more than 20 universities launching an online platform called FutureLearn, which will challenge the dominant players on the east and west US coasts. … At Harvard, more people have signed up for MOOCs in a single year than have attended the university in its entire 377-year history. That’s a great success story in opening up education, but what do you do with all those hungry minds?

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