A relatively new addition to the world of online education, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs.) have created huge interest and sparked fierce debates from Universities,Professors,Scholars and students alike on this new way of offering online education via the web.

One of the earliest breakthrough moments with Massive Open Online Courses ( MOOCs) came in Autumn 2011 when Stanford University attracted over 160,000 people to sign up to their Artificial Intelligence MOOC.

Following in from the exceptional enrolment figures and obvious publicity generated from this MOOC, Coursera was formed by Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller , by levering the technology from Stanford, they were able to launch two web-based MOOCs.

shortly after the Stanford’s AI course went live. Shortly after,in an effort to develop a free and open platform for online education MIT launched their( MITx) not-for-profit . The inaugural course, 6.002x, launched in March 2012. Harvard joined the initiative, renamed edX, later in the spring, followed by University of California, Berkeley j.The edX initiative has now grown to encompass 6 universities, The University of Texas System, Wellesley College and the Georgetown University being the latest joinees. In November, 2012, the first high school MOOC was launched by the University of Miami Global Academy, UM’s online high school. The course became available for high school students preparing for the SAT Subject Test in Biology, providing access for students from any high school.

Also in November the first Spanish MOOC called Wedubox was launched, for which the beta had 1,000 professors. In December 2012 it was announced that from 2013 a consortium of UK universities along with The Open University will offer Massive Open Online Courses ( MOOCs) under the name FutureLearn and majority owned by The Open University the other universities are Warwick,King’s College London,Southampton,Lancaster,Birmingham,Cardiff,St Andrews,Leeds, Bristol, Cardiff, East Anglia and Exeter. With so many MOOCs now being launched and the way it could shape learning in the future it is no wonder that so many debates are raging on their success or failures ( depending on your view/agenda) for our part here at MassiveOpenOnlineCourses.com we don’t see how any new way of opening up learning to those that could not afford to attend Universities or courses in person can be a bad thing, like all new technologies and ideas things will have to develop and MOOCs will have to find their place in the Online Learning sector,however way you look at it MOOCs have already had an effect on the way bricks and mortar education houses are now doing things and while i agree MOOCs will not take the place of bricks and mortar universities,there is no reason they can not co exist side by side. It is certainly and exciting times in the world of online education. Go to our MOOC News page for all the latest in the world of MOOCs