What is a MOOC anyway?

We’re glad you asked. MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course and it’s at the heart of the edX mission. MOOCs enable people around the world to take a university class for free. Led by some of the most distinguished faculty on campus, participating professors develop specific courses that can be filmed and illustrated graphically and then shared through the edX platform. As an edX member, BU is committed to the development of at least five MOOCs. We’re aiming to launch our inaugural courses between late spring and fall 2014.

According to edX, 700,000 students across the globe currently use its platform. That diversity of a MOOC’s potential audience is a real opportunity for educators. By studying data collected from students of different ages and demographics, we can see not only what they learn online, but how they learn online.

Putting it all together

Creating a MOOC is no small task and can be compared with producing a movie, because both require a strong vision and a knowledgeable team. A typical MOOC team will include a faculty member, a teaching assistant, a videographer, a graphic designer, an instructional designer, and a programmer.

A MOOC is born in three stages. First, the team develops course materials, storyline, and flow. Second, they record lectures and other video sessions, while graphics, simulations, and problem sets are created and all course materials are integrated into edX’s platform. Finally, the MOOC will be tested, both by DLI and with a group of BU students, before being publicly released.