MASSIVE OPEN ONLINE COURSES
Fast development and diffusion of information and communication technologies (ICT) have had a significant impact on the change of the traditional model of educational systems and teaching and learning methods. The development of distance education technologies and employment of digital education content expand the access to higher education and contribute to the improvement of its quality, which is particularly important for developing countries. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), recognized as one of 30 the most promising trends in education until 2028 among, opened up new possibilities in the field of distance education. MOOC concept is based on key principles of a new theory of learning - connectivism – a variety of teaching approaches, teaching as networking and collective decision-making, teaching and learning as a process, not as a state. MOOC eliminate spatial and time frames, they are global and fall beyond the scope of a university. MOOC increase independence and enhance motivation of students to acquire skills necessary for professional work in the global digital world. MOOC are open courseware that includes video lectures with subtitles, texts, lecture notes, homework assignments, tests and final exams. The authors of online courses are professors of leading universities. MOOC rely on active participation and interaction of students with teachers and each other. One of the most important characteristics of MOOC is that every student has his or her own personal learning environment. The number of students enrolled in different online courses varies from a few hundred to tens or hundreds of thousands. After successful accomplishment of a MOOC course a student can obtain an official certificate.
MOOC were first mentioned in 2008, and over the past five years their visibility in the university environment has significantly increased. Major American and British universities are actively involved in creation and dissemination of education resources, including open education resources, and training courses. They conquer the market of electronic educational services creating clusters of universities by region or by topic. In 2013, 29 universities, such as National University of Singapore, Chinese University of Hong Kong and École Polytechnique in Paris, joined the largest platform of online courses Coursera, that had already gathered 33 universities (including Princeton University, Stanford University, Johns Hopkins University, California Institute of Technology, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Toronto, Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania, and others). The platform edX, supported jointly by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University and the University of Berkeley, has increased number of its partners to 12: among others Australian National University, Delft University of Technology and the University of McGill (Canada) joined the platform. Udacity, created by professors of Stanford University in 2011, collaborates with the University of Colorado and San José State University. UK eleven top universities have joined the program of distance free courses offered by the Open University in UK.
One of the analogues of MOOC platform in RuNet is Internet University of Information Technology.
UNESCO IITE has developed a MOOC on ICT in primary education together based on the results of its recent project. The course can be found at COURSERA.