Clarifying confusion: open content, MOOCs and online learning



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University of Cape Town. OpenUCT

University of Cape Town

The arrival of MOOCs , especially the so-called X-MOOCs from the elite universities of the USA and the rest of the world, have provoked conversations in traditional residential universities which simply did not take place on a broad scale before. In particular, the issues of online learning and of open content have found their way into senior academic for a, and the indabas of senior management layers of universities. Of course, neither open content nor online learning are new per se, but they had not reached mainstream conversations in most residential universities, let alone the elite ones. Whatever else one might think of MOOCs, they are to be welcomed for making these credible and legitimate issues to discuss. However, because they have all arrived at the same time in a sense, there is some confusion about the concepts and the parameters of what each of these issues refer to. I have even heard all of them described (more than once) under the umbrella term of "open source" as in open source content, open sources courses and open source learning. So here is a summary of these three overlapping areas showing their similarities and distinguishing elements.