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In a previous post we predicted that this year MOOCs will morph into MOCCS (Mid-Sized Online Closed Courses).

We believe that universities and companies will begin to create and license online courses and use them in a smaller, contained/closed environment.  MOOCs won’t go away, but the real traction will be the use of teaching technologies brought down to smaller groups of people that will more closely mimic the best of the current classroom environment.

These MOCCs are in many ways already here, although some are still labeled as MOOCs. Here are a few examples of what we would call MOCCs:

  • Online courses taught by “freelance” professors. As mentioned by InsideHigherEd on Friday, StraighterLine is launching “Professor Direct,” - 15 professor-taught online courses. In this direct-to-student model, a self-described “eBay for professors,” the individual professor sets the course price, office hours and class size. Tutors will be available to help students, and some universities will offer credit for these courses.  Sounds MOCCish.
  • Traditional MOOCs – for a fee. We would argue that these fall more into the MOCC category since registrants must pay to enroll and this may have the effect of turning massively open courses into mid-sized open courses – a step in the direction toward MOCCs. Udemy’s such courses, for example, may not be true MOOCs anymore.
  • Licensed content to traditional universities. This is what Antioch is reportedly doing with Coursera, as discussed in a previous post. From the Antioch University website: “Each Coursera course will be facilitated by an AULA faculty member who will also be enrolled in the course, thereby enabling both frequent interaction between students and instructor and augmentation of the course through supplemental exercises and projects focused on expanding the learning experience.”  It’s essentially turning a MOOC into a MOCC.
  • Publishers surrounding content with star instructors and/or facilitators.  University and traditional publishers have a wide array of content and can now use technology and facilitators to bring it alive for university students and company clientele alike.  One example of this is Pearson College. Some business school publishers are also doing this.

As various players, from companies to individual professors, try to monetize the MOOC phenomenon, in the end we may not actually be left with true MOOCs anymore. The emergence of MOCCs is not necessarily a bad thing, but it may continue to shift the higher ed landscape through further disintermediation, questions about accreditation and ultimately student demand for credentials.

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