A MOOC is a model of educational delivery that is, to varying degrees, massive, open, online, and a course. Most MOOCs are structured similar to traditional online higher education courses in which students watch lectures, read assigned material, participate in online discussions and forums, and complete quizzes and tests on the course material. The online activities can be augmented by local meet-ups among students who live near one another. MOOCs are typically provided by higher education institutions, often in partnership with “organizers” such as Coursera, edX, and Udacity, though some MOOCs are being offered directly by a college or university. MOOCs arise from the confluence of several important trends, and they raise important questions and spark essential conversations about curriculum design, accreditation, what constitutes a valid learning experience, and who has access to higher education." (EDUCAUSE 2013)
In 2015, a working group was instituted at USP to design, develop and deliver USP's first-ever MOOC. The topic of the MOOC was Climate Change and the working group consisted of staff from PaCE-SD, the School of Engineering and Physics, the School of Education and the Centre for Flexible Learning. The course was titled Climate Change and Pacific Islands and the content focused on the effects of climate change on the Pacific Islands. The course also provided discourse on actions that could mitigate these effects.
USP offered its second MOOC on Pacific Studies in 2016. The MOOC was offered by the Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies in the field of Pacific Studies. The course was titled Pacific Studies and had a focus to promote Pacific awareness and cross-cultural competency and disseminate Pacific ideas and frameworks to meet the challenges of the region and globalization.
MOOCs offered by other providers
"Founded by Harvard University and MIT in 2012, edX is an online learning destination and MOOC provider, offering high-quality courses from the world’s best universities and institutions to learners everywhere." (edX, 2015)
"Udacity was born out of a Stanford University experiment in which Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig offered their "Introduction to Artificial Intelligence" course online to anyone, for free. Over 160,000 students in more than 190 countries enrolled and not much later, Udacity was born. Now we're a growing team of educators and engineers on a mission to change the future of education by bridging the gap between real-world skills, relevant education, and employment." (Udacity, 2015)