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Knode is a series of briefs published by Cerebriam for decision makers. The series provides guidance on the intersection of digital media technology and learning and communications covering the following themes: distant learning, the internet of things, video and audio media, mobile communications, and digital pedagogy.

With three high profile launches by US universities in 2012, backed by a total of $112m investment, nothing can be considered more fast-paced in technology in higher education than the advent of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs.) By the end of 2012 three of the largest MOOC platforms, edX, Coursera, and Udacity, were collectively offering 226 online courses to over 3 million registered students worldwide.

A MOOC is, as the name suggests, a platform through which educational providers are able to offer, for free, online courses to students not enrolled on campus courses, thereby reaching a considerably larger number of students.

This brief is designed to place the events of last year in context, gain a better insight into what MOOCs actually offer, outline some related trends, provide some data on the resources required to create a MOOC, and consider the value of MOOCs to both the higher education sector, and students.

"Higher education is being disrupted; our MP3 is the massive open online course (or Mooc), and our Napster is Udacity, the education startup…"


- Clay Shirky, New York University


Download PDF Knode Brief: A Year of MOOCs