Author: Amanda Warner

To introduce the topic of MOOCs and explore two prominent options.

MOOCs provide free online instruction from universities like Harvard and Stanford to students.

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What does MOOC stand for?

MOOC stands massive open online course. These courses are available for free to interested students, and they are often taught by noted professors of top-tier universities. MOOCs can be considered an extension of OpenCourseWare with more interaction for students. There are several key MOOCs available, the most notable being edX and Coursera.


EdX was developed through a collaboration between MIT and Harvard in 2012. The objective was, like OpenCourseWare, to provide free instruction to interested students. Students can enroll in classes and complete them anytime. At the end of the course, a certification of completion can be obtained. Students can interact with each other through forums, and instructors or proctors are present to evaluate progress.

EdX Website


One of the largest MOOCs, Coursera boasts over 5 million users and over 500 courses available. Coursera also provides free instruction from top-tier universities like Emory University and Yale. Coursera takes this instruction to the next level with its Coursera Learning Hubs Initiative. This initiative is trying to establish schools and places of instruction in impoverished nations with the goal of providing a good free education.