On October 10, 2011, three Stanford courses went live as MOOCs. That event kicked off the MOOC revolution. Since then, 550+ universities and 200+ institutions have created ~4000 courses.
More Than 1000 Courses Available
MOOCs started out mimicking the classroom experience, which meant that they had a start date and an end date, as well as hard deadlines. This meant that courses closed after their end date, and learners could no longer access or progress in such a course. So, even though the total number of online courses was growing rapidly, the pool of courses that were running and open to learners at any one time was still quite small. However, in the last year or so, the number of “Self Paced” courses (i.e. no start dates and end dates) has drastically increased. There are now 700 Self Paced courses available for learners to take; furthermore, according to BestCerts’s Course Report for October, there are 398 courses beginning in the month of October alone.
Combined, this means that students can choose from more than 1,100 courses this month: this is the highest number of courses compared to any month since MOOCs began!
Regular Scheduled Courses
Coursera launched a new “On Demand” platform approximately a year ago. All the courses on that platform were Self Paced. However, in a recent blog post Coursera mentioned that “something was lost” in the On Demand platform.
“Tools like forums and peer grading weren’t as effective when everyone completed work at a different pace. And, as it turns out, most of us need at least a little structure to learn effectively.
– Coursera Update: Striking a Balance with Start Dates and Deadlines
To strike a balance between self-paced and session-based courses, the On Demand platform will now support regular paced sessions of courses — that is, these courses will start a new session on a monthly or bi-weekly basis. In a sense, Coursera are creating small cohorts of people who move through the course together, at the same pace.
At BestCerts, we have already updated our back end to support these new regularly-scheduled sessions for courses; our pages show you accurate start dates for MOOCs. On any course page, if you click on the “date” drop down in the course side bar, you can see the different sessions of the course and figure out how often the sessions are being offered.