Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are open enrollment video courses, that give (mostly) free access to learning material for students across the globe. MOOCs are generally affiliated with university courses, and are essentially an extension of the classroom learning material. The videos may be recordings of the classroom or may be separately created for the online learners. MOOCs can also include assignments, readings, and certificates of completion.
MOOCs became popular in 2012, when learning material for three Stanford courses - Introduction to AI by Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig, Machine Learning by Andrew Ng, and Introduction to Databases by Jennifer Widom, were offered as MOOCs. Since then Udacity (founded by Sebastian Thrun), Coursera (founded by Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller), and edX (jointly created by MIT and Harvard University) have emerged as the top MOOC platforms.
While video learning material on MOOCs can often be accessed for free, MOOCs may charge for certification or for additional learning material such as assignments and quizzes. MOOCs such as Coursera also provide free certifications to students whose financial aid applications are accepted. MOOC providers also collaborate with universities and industry leaders, to offer online courses for university credits and to provide courses at the cutting-edge of the industry.