MOOCs- Progressive Online Education

Massive Open Online Courses

John Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems stated a�?the next big killer application on the internet is going to be education. Education over the internet is going to be so big it is going to make e-mail usage look like a rounding error” (The Online Community for eLearning in Ottawa, n.d.). Jack Messman of Pricewaterhouse Cooper believes that online learning will become the most cost-effective method of educating the worlda��s workforce (The Online Community for eLearning in Ottawa, n.d.). These predictions are coming true and I will look at how in the following commentary.

If you like to learn but are concerned about the cost of learning, MOOCs may be for you. So, you may be wondering, what are MOOCs? Well, the acronym stands for Massive Open Online Courses and these courses are being offered free of cost via the internet to anyone who wishes to take them. This concept is in line with the social concept that education should not only be available but also accessible to all without excessive financial burden. These courses do not necessarily provide you with a diploma or degree but may offer you a completion certificate.

Recently, many articles have appeared about MOOCs in the National, New York Times, and Higher Education.A� However, this is not a new idea. In 2001, the William and Flora Hewlett and Andrew W. Mellon foundations funded the Massachusetts Institute of Technologya��s (MIT) OpenCourseWare initiative which currently offers free graduate and undergraduate level courses (Brown and Adler, 2008). Others offering such courses include CourseraA� and the Khan Academy.

What does this mean for dental hygiene? Well, I see great potential in their use as adjunctive learning resources within the teaching and learning environment at our institution. We can leverage them to help our students understand concepts without getting over extended ourselves in the production of resources. These courses, available to all, developed by large recognized educational giants such as MIT, Harvard, University ofToronto, etc., are proclaimed to be grounded in pedagogy. Recently I reviewed the Khan Academya��s library of videos on statistics and I can definitely see how they can be added as a resource for our students to either view prior to class or as reinforcement or review should they not understand specific concepts such as the mean, median, p-values, etc.

Often students themselves would ask me if there were additional resources they could review at home so they could be better equipped to meet the demands of the Dental HygieneA�program. Or, I would advise students to take an additional course, such as a writing course to improve their ability to write. More often than not, it was the cost of additional trainingA�that held students back. For students in this position, MOOCs would meet their need by helping them improve their skill level without the added cost.

In closing, it is becoming clear that education is becoming more available and open to all. Institutions and those that teach and learn need to keep abreast of new happenings so they can best teach and learn. With the abundance of resources available to us, this new age of teaching and learning is one to definitelyA�be excited about.


Brown, J.S., and Adler, R.P. (2008). Minds on Fire: Open Education, the Long Tail, and Learning 2.0. [Electronic Version]. Educase Review, 43(1: January/February), 16a��32.

The Online Community for eLearning in Ottawa. (n.d.). Famous eLearning Quotes

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