By Sarah Police
The price of a higher education: motivation, more calls to the administration office than you can count and a lot of student loans.
But now, anyone can get an education without any of those obstacles. “MOOCs” — massive open online courses — now offer online courses available to anyone in the world. The price? Free.
MOOCs first became popular in North America in 2011 when several universities — Stanford University and Princeton University among them — uploaded MOOC courses to the web. Since then, numerous universities have embraced the online learning system. Last year, Pitt began to offer five courses. The courses are six weeks long and are available to take any time.
According to the MOOC Quality Project website, the term MOOC was officially derived by Dave Cormier in 2008. The original idea of creating the MOOC, Cormier said, came with the idea that one should not be limited financially to an education.
Pitt has eight professors who teach MOOCs available to students and people around the world through the platform Coursera on topics ranging from Isocrates to Clinical Terminology.
Michael Beach, an assistant professor in the School of Nursing, taught a MOOC class in January called Disaster Preparedness as one of five professors selected by Pitt to teach a MOOC. He said he had “absolutely no idea” the School of Nursing selected his course, but that he happily accepted the offer. Beach’s for-credit courses at Pitt include Fundamentals of Disaster, Mass Casualty Care and Clinical Diagnostics, but after he applied to teach the MOOC, Beach said “it was only after that I realized what I was getting into.”
[ Full article available at The Pitt News: http://www.pittnews.com/news/article_d474be2a-e6c0-11e3-af6e-001a4bcf6878.html ]