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University For All

Oxford University has organised its first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), becoming the latest prestigious university to do so and join the MOOC movement.Oxford (the top 1 university according to the World University Ranking, during 2016-2017) has announced that they will offer a course on Economics in collaboration with edX, an online learning platform founded by Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), starting this February.

Since MOOC appeared in 2011, millions of students from all around the world have been able to undertake courses of short duration, completely free of charge and available to anybody, regardless to where in the world they live as long as they have an internet connection. Within MOOC there are Coursera, edX and Udacity in the US, and FutureLearn in the UK, which are endorsed by hundreds of prestigious universities and institutions. Coursera and edX dominate the MOOC market with a 35% and an 18.1% of the market, respectively. In 2015, Coursera alone was used by 15 million of students.

The list of universities that offer courses through the MOOC platform include Caltech, Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Sorbonne, Beijing and, now, Oxford. The course offered by Oxford University through the MOOC platform is entitled “From Poverty to Prosperity: Understanding Economic Development”, and it’s lead by Sir Paul Collier, a Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government.

MOOC, a brief history.

2011. Stanford University creates 3 free courses for any person who can connect to the internet. One of them, a course on Artificial Intelligence lead by Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig, attracted more tan 160.000 students. Thanks to the success, Thrun and Norvig created a new business model based on online education, Udacity.

2012. The popularity of the Stanford courses inspired more universities to offer other courses through the MOOC platform. Two new platforms appeared: Coursera and edX. The New York Times described 2012 as “the year of the MOOC”.

2013. The Open University creates its own platform in the MOOC, FutureLearn, through which they offer courses from British Universities. Other MOOC platforms that appeared this year were Open2study in Australia and iversity in Germany.

2014.The number of universities offering this courses through the MOOC platform doubles and goes beyond 400. 22 out of the 25 best universities in the US (according to the World University Ranking) offer free courses through this platform.

2015. The number of students that enrol in courses through the MOOC platform exceeds 35 million. In 2014, the number was between 16 and 18 million.

2016. Oxford University announces its first course through the MOOC platform, something that increases MOOC’s prestige even more.

Stephanie Ordoñez