Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) has been formed after freely downloadable textbooks and other Open Educational Resources (OERs) were made available for students who struggle to do Higher Education. The MOOCs distributed by Coursera, Udacity and the non profit edX are only partly open.
OER materials include textbooks, quizzes, softwares, videos of lectures and other freely available stuff for educational use, typically under a Creative Commons license. Connexions was the first free and open repository of course wares, inspired by open source projects such as Linux.
The main importance of MOOC is that the students could get some financial relief. According to an American Enterprise Institute analysis, the cost of textbooks has risen 812% since 1978, compared with a 250% increase in the consumer price index.
The instructors have the option of creating their own versions, introducing their own edits or swapping in content from a different source, and assigning that remix in MOOC courseware. Even though, MOOCs are not considered as an alternative for college courses.
The only drawback of MOOCs is that the MOOCs are ‘open’, which means open is ‘free’ with legal rights to reuse, revise, remix and redistribute the resources. It had been so because the videos and interactive content in MOOCs remain copyrighted and available only on the MOOC provider’s schedule.
The ‘open’ term in MOOCs usually refers to open enrollment and not about the content, which means anybody can take that particular course. Most MOOCs use proprietary content such as proprietary textbooks or proprietary lecture notes.
However, those who promote OER hopes to mix them with MOOC to provide better atmosphere and truly ‘open’ courses to the students.