The pioneers of online teaching, MOOCs are taking over the world.
They started in the Canada and USA but it is now possible to find them online on different subjects and majors.
What about students who are not university students?
It seems MOOCs are most adapted to college students.
Is it possible for elementary school, middle school, and high school students to use MOOCs as a complement to online tutoring?
Superprof has the answer!
What's a MOOC ?
A little history to start with...
2008 is the year it all starts. The first MOOC appears at the University of Athabasca in Canada. The trend then travels to many Canadian and American universities.
Yet, the dates change depending on who is telling the story.
Some people say that the first MOOC was Sebastian Thrun's in 2011. They say it was part of an academic experiment. The Stanford professor wanted to share his class on artificial intelligence across the world.
Yet, the first diffusion of online academic resources go back to 2002 at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).
That was our historical and cultural report!
MOOCs in Practice
What are MOOCs exactly?
It's an anagram that stands for Massive Open Online Course.
These teaching programs really correspond to their name, as they consist of being published on an internet platform, as a digital class.
In the beginning, MOOCs were live. Today, many sites claim to have MOOCs.
Generally, a MOOC is made up of:
- A video of the teacher giving the class;
- A space for exchanges (chatroom and/or discussion forum);
- A PowerPoint to follow the lesson;
- Sometimes, exercices as an add-on to the classes.
MOOCs offer many advantages for online academic support.
First of all, this pedagogical resource is totally free of charge and can be accessed by all. Everyone can access it, as long as they are on the right platform. This, any place and time.
This is what makes MOOCs so interesting! You can take advantage of your train ride in order to take an online class on your phone. You can also connect to the internet once you are home.
That being said, it's interesting to note that most of MOOCs are only available for a short time. Past this, the classes are no longer available.
In fact, MOOCs make students into responsible persons by making them independent and want to better their skills in a certain subject.
Even though MOOCs do not yet offer diplomas recognized by the State, the offer tends to expand throughout the years.
Amongst the most well known US platforms, we recommend the following:
- Coursera.org ;
- Futurelearn.com ;
- Openclassrooms : dédié avant tout au numérique et à la culture digitale ;
Is Is Possible to Find MOOCs in Elementary School, Middle School, and High School?
You've understood: MOOCs respond to the needs and desires of college educators and students.
- What about elementary school to 12th grade?
- Can we also find classes of this type?
MOOCs for Elementary School
In elementary school, it's difficult for students to be independent in their work. So, the classic MOOCs do not necessarily adapt to classes. In fact, the same goes for academic support online.
Until fifth grade, young students need the presence of a teacher in order to learn effectively. It is difficult to get them interested in an online class without the help of someone guiding them.
Yet, we find online classes that are adapted to the youngest children on certain websites:
- Videodeprof ;
Middle School and High School MOOCs
In middle school and high school, there are many initiatives put into place by the teachers in order to democratize MOOCs.
Amongst them, we can cite the Richmond County School District program called Canvas Network.
We can also come back to the Udemy program that has been around for almost ten years and helps young people better their skills in subjects such as astronomy, poetry, and human rights!
The objective is to create an online course destined for middle school students having difficulty in school.
Here are two of the most innovative MOOC programs: Coursera and Udacity. Both these have been around the longest, along with EDx. And although they do propose classes for college students, some of them are suitable for bright middle schoolers and high schoolers who need an extra push in school.
Let's now have a look at different MOOC platforms for middle schoolers and high schoolers (which act, for the most part, as podcast videos):
- Edutopia has numerous MOOCs in order to help students from 9th grade to 12th grade.
- Khan Academy: MOOCs in all subjects and for all levels (English, math, biology, Spanish, etc.) ;
From middle school on, students no longer have the same teacher full-time. They have to deal with different subjects. This can perturb a few students.
Academic support classes via videos will require their full attention. Whether it's:
- A refresher course during school holidays;
- To acquire a learning method and new learning for an exam (midterms, finals, or SATs) ;
- Academic support on specific themes all along the year;
- For a better comprehension of a certain notion from class;
In-home private tutoring is a new form of learning that seems to be getting more and more popular every year.
In this context, MOOCs--once closed and temporary--are beginning to become more and more open. The proof is with YouTube, which has a space for comments where it is possible to exchange with other spectators.
You should also take a look at the inconveniences of online academic support...
Online Academic Support: Khan Academy As an Example
The Khan Academy is a major actor in the MOOCs domain.
Created in the United States, Khan Academy has been around for almost a decade.
Their slogan is "You should know one thing: you can learn anything." This sets the tone of the academic endeavor.
To start off, you have to sign up. Once this is done, you can access an enormous database of videos on the following subjects:
- Math classes from kindergarten to 12th grade;
- Science academic support (physics, chemistry, biology, etc.) and elementary school academic support.
- The IT and video approach in order to consolidate knowledge and academic support.
Thanks to its clear and simple interface, you can easily find all the resources you need.
In order to start your learning, the website has you warm up in order to test the level. You answer a few questions that will allow you to then understand where you are at.
Once this step has been achieved, you can start watching videos one after the other according to your needs.
What's interesting about the Khan Academy is mixing the videos with the online exercises and the possibility of recording your progress little by little.
Much like a video game, you will unlock certain bonus elements that will make you want to progress (such as avatars).
Entirely free, the Khan Academy lives on thanks to user donations.
No matter your age or academic level, it is possible to learn some things thanks to the classes on the website.
Some comments from people over 70 are proof of this.
MOOCs are just starting to take over the educational realm!
For the moment, they are mostly dedicated to university students taking university degrees. University classes are much better represented than those for elementary school, middle school, and high school.
However, many initiatives spoken about here are proving that MOOCs are starting to bleed into the elementary school, middle school, and high school spheres.
We bet that in a few years, we will see online classes allow people from all over the world to be linked in education around common interests. This is our hope anyway! It would make for a better world, where those who want to study little known subjects can!
Idealist or realist? Only the future will tell!
But academic transformations are already on their way there. MOOCs are great tools for online learning.