A MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is not just a course in which a series of videos have been recorded and published to an organized Playlist through a provider. A MOOC is much more than that. In our article "Stages of creating a MOOC" in the section "Making the MOOC available to the general public (delivery)" we referred to a list of features that a MOOC can support. Some of the features are:
- Multiple ways to represent information (video, text, HTML pages, external files such as powerpoint, pdf, word)
- QUIZ creation and usage with multiple ways of question presenting
- Support for discussion between learners and the teacher through Discussions and Forums
- Assignment delivery and peer review activities
With these and many more tools that can accompany a video lesson, a MOOC can be framed with activities that help learners build a better understanding of the topics presented and develop special skills. Of course, the organization of a MOOC does not only depend on the tools that the platform offers, but also on the skills the teacher has in order to use them properly.
There are several platforms that can offer MOOCs but we at Letstudy have decided to use the Open Edx platform, due to its special features that we will analyze below.
Variety of tools and scalability
The Open Edx platform provides a variety of tools for teachers to enable them to create their own lesson. They can use videos, animations, simulations to create a multimedia learning environment. Quizzes that a teacher can create including questions using checkboxes, dropdown, multiple choices, numerical and text answer fields, drag and drop, math expression and more advanced fields where the user can even write Python code.
In addition to the tools provided by Open Edx, one can also install additional tools through the X-blocks. X-blocks are programming units that one can develop in order to expand the capabilities of the platform. If one does not have the expertise to develop their own X-block, they can install X-blocks developed by others.
The creation of the Open Edx platform was based on the student experience in it, providing the best possible representation of the course content. The setting up of the platform is such that the information presented to the learner can be organized into thematic units so that the trainee's navigation is easy.
The contents of the lesson are organized in a serial sequence that guides and directs the student's course within the course. Also, the user can check the degree of completion of the course as well as be informed about their grades in the graded activities.
The teacher can use the special area to which only he/she has access to manage the learners' registrations, to grade and check their progress as well as to send bulk emails.
Easy at creating and managing a course
The Open Edx platform consists of 2 main parts:
- The LMS (Learning Management System) through which students have access to lessons
- The Studio that only teachers have access to and through which they can manage the content of the lessons
The teachers can very easily create the structure of the lesson and enter the content they want into the various topics. They have the ability to create sections and subsections in a course to better organize the course content.
Popularity of the platform
The Open Edx platform is an open source platform developed by Edx, one of the largest providers of MOOCs. The Edx platform was developed in collaboration with scientists at MIT and Harvard in 2012 (Wikipedia, 2019). More than 20,000 courses have been uploaded in the platform, which have been attended by over 40 million trainees (Edx, 2019).
Several MOOCs service providers and educational institutions have chosen the solution of Open Edx as their main educational platform. Some of them are (EdX, 2019):
- Stanford University
- MIT Professional Education
- George Washington University(MOOCs)
- MongoDB University
- Politecnico di Milano
- McKinsey Academy
- Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
- Lectylab – Fundación Germán Sánchez Ruipérez
- Isead Business School
- Spain’s Ministry of Education
- Divergence Academy
The popularity of the Open Edx platform, its open source architecture, the plethora of open source community developers and also researchers, who come from various educational institutions and research centers and are constantly expanding the features of the platform, the ease of management by the teachers and finally the learner-centered approach, have made it the best possible solution for MOOCs today.
If you are a teacher interested in creating your own MOOC, if you are a researcher or a postgraduate student who wants to ask research questions on topics related to the use of MOOCs or even if you have a passion to teach your own course, do not hesitate to fill out the contact form in order to upload your own course at Letstudy and take advantage of all the benefits offered by the Open Edx platform.