What is a connectivist MOOC?

“MOOCs” are massive open online courses.

Dave Cormier introduces the MOOC:

There’s a great written explanation of MOOCs in the introduction to the PLENK2010 MOOC

Stephen Downes explains:

This longer interview with George Siemens and Howard Rheingold is also a very helpful introduction to connectivism:


August 2012’s MOOCMOOC was a one-week course led by Hybrid Pedagogy which examined the MOOC medium.

As a springboard for more on MOOCs, check out the readings from Sunday and Monday  and have a look at this piece on the MOOC Misnomer which does a nice job of dismantling lazy use of the term.


A shorthand has emerged which distinguishes between connectivist courses – cMOOCs – and ones that are more broadcast-focused and reliant upon certification and peer testing. Organisations such as coursera, Udacity and EdX are examples of the xMOOC category.

I’ve made my own attempt at distinguishing between xMOOCs and cMOOCs. Lisa M. Lane has written about Three Kinds of MOOCs. This post on Coursera, Pedagogy, And The Two Faces Of MOOCs is also helpful.

This site exists to point people towards connectivist courses. xMOOCs are already excellently served by Class Central.


As the field of online education is so fluid, it may be too early to adopt such a rigid classification system that distinguishes between xMOOCs and cMOOCs.

Dominik Lukes suggests a different way of ordering our thoughts – What is and what is not a MOOC: A picture of family resemblance (working undefinition)

People can contribute with any additional thoughts in the comments below, so check out the discussion there for more thoughts on MOOCs and connectivist MOOCs.

7 thoughts on “What is a connectivist MOOC?

  1. Pingback: What is a connectivist MOOC? | Connectivist MOOCs | MOOCing Along | Scoop.it

  2. Paul

    Discussions of MOOCs, especially in the ed-media, tend to highlight the massiveness, which misses the point, in my opinion. Whether they’re truly massive could be questioned as well: a global broadcast system (which xMOOCs are) that only reaches 100,000 people is small-time. The real innovation is the openness – I can take what I want, learn what I want, with no financial risk and no pressure to perform on artificial assessments. One of Cage’s rules of learning is particularly appropriate here: “There is no win or fail. There is only make.” A MOOC is what the learner makes of it. That is true of any learning experience, but the openness means you don’t have to conform to any bureaucratic expectations. When open becomes open-ended, as in CMC or DS106, you don’t even have the time pressure of a schedule.

    Of course, I’m coming at MOOCs as a person interested in self-directed lifelong learning. Someone looking for a cheap CompSci degree might have a very different view, based on very different needs.

  3. David Delgado

    In my opinion, real MOOCs are connectivist MOOCs (cMOOCs), that were the original ones. They tend to raise the concept of e-learning 2.0, based on Personal Learning Environments (PLE), were the learner chooses what to learn and how to learn it. They also deal with the associated Personal Learning Networks (PLN) that are created in the process of learning making connections, that are more important than the content itself (a key idea in Connectivism).

    The rise of “MOOCs” in 2012 are the raise of “Broadcast” MOOCs (xMOOCs), that, for me, are a mere extension of classical Learning Management Systems (LMS) (also called Virtual Learning Environments (VLE)). The extension of them just to be very “massive” and little “open”.

  4. Pingback: What is a connectivist MOOC? | Connectivist MOOCs | Digital Teacher | Scoop.it

  5. Pingback: The implications for libraries of recent global trends in open online education « ALIA Information Online 2013

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