MOOC - Massive Open Online Courses

October 2016

The MOOCs are among the most popular online training/courses platforms for students and professionals. How do they work? What are the different types of MOOCs and what are their characteristics ?

What is a MOOC ?

MOOC is the acronym for Massive Open Online Courses. Today, many universities and digital platforms offer online courses covering different thematic areas : IT, business , management, mathematics, etc.
The MOOCs are generally free of charge. However, some MOOCs includes a certification programme (issuing a certificate of achievement) and thus require a subscription to the service.


A MOOC meets several principles:
  • A MOOC allows geographically dispersed teachers and students to communicate .
  • Participants communicate in real time over the internet, mainly via videoconferencing, but also through other tools such as digital workspaces, forums, social networks, blogs, etc. .
  • A MOOC can either regroup a large number of participants or provide limited enrollment courses.
  • It is based on the use of free educational resources: documents, videos, questionnaires..etc
  • It is organized in sessions, usually over several weeks.
  • It includes various activities to assess the progression of each participants (workshops, group work, homework).

The different types of MOOCs

xMOOC: Definition and characteristics

The xMOOCs are based on a vertical teaching (directed or lecture-style). They aim to create the learning conditions of a classroom. They are mostly offered by universities. The objective of xMOOCs is to assess the skills of the participants: training is usually accompanied by a certificate of achievement .
  • The teaching course is clearly organized into objectives
  • it mobilizes a large number of participants
  • it is limited in time
  • assessment is often based on an automatic scoring.

The main xMooc platforms are:
- EdX,
- Udacity
- Coursera
- Open2study

cMOOC : Definition and characteristics

The cMOOCs are built on a collaborative principle where participants create content to a large extent. This type of online courses based on the concept of "open education".
Under a cMOOC, interactions with the teacher are minimal or nonexistent. Organizers/facilitators will however structure the discussions and content offered .
  • The general objectives of the course are set by the organizer of the cMOOC : the progression of the course however is not linear because of its participatory nature
  • Each student can contribute and become " teacher."
  • A cMOOC is entirely based on open educational resources.
  • Self-assessment of skills is vital .

A cMOOC brings together participants from diverse levels , which can complicate the learning progress .

Related :

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