MOOCs: From bricks to clicks…and back to bricks again

‘Online students can’t help being sociable’

MOOCs have been the ‘flavour of the month’ for e-learning researchers and learning technologists over the past few years.  They promised to offer an alternative to the traditional ‘face-to-face’ model of university learning and aimed at unlimited participation and open access to learning courses online. Since the MOOC invasion, there have been two conflicting strands of opinion running throughout literature: a strand of enthusiasts welcoming the concept, reporting positively on innovative formats of pedagogy, learning experiences, increased access, empowerement, relationship building and community, and a strand of sceptics that question the benefits of MOOCs, its limited format, its poor engagement of weaker learners, and its quality of learning.

A recent article on BBC documents a new ‘twist’ in the MOOCs fairytale…Coursera, a major provider of online courses, is creating an international network of “learning hubs”, where students can follow these virtual courses in real-life, bricks and mortar settings.


I have attempted to do a little MOOCs experiment a while ago and I struggled to complete the courses I have registered for, mainly due to disengamement (I will need to report that experience on here soon)

How does this recent development influence the future of MOOCs , especially in the UK?

Will Futurelearn , the UK MOOC platform, follow a similar principle to Coursera and offer ‘real study centres’ ?

How will ‘social MOOCs’ (SMOOCs?) influence the landscape of distance learning?

Does this indicate the real beginning of the end of traditional universities?

*If you are an auditory learner, you can listen to this great Radio 4 Programme on online learning (MOOCs) and Coursera.*


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