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Massive Open Online Courses – MOOCs - are free online courses with no entry requirements. They are designed for mass participation and assume that learners will drive their own education, studying alongside diverse fellow students who may come from anywhere in the world. They allow for features such as interactive online forums that can involve hundreds of students in peer-to-peer discussions, as well as access to video and audio lectures and course materials in online format. MOOCs are a form of self directed distance education. It is not unusual to have groups comprising of school aged youth alongside PhDs, working professionals and grandmothers.

A number of MOOC platforms such as FutureLearnCourseraEdX and Canvas have partnered with hundreds of tertiary and other institutions and have between them enrolled 10 million students. It is notable that although African enrolments represent the lowest proportionally, they are on the rise.

The University of Cape Town, through our department - the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT) - launched the very first set of UCT-run MOOCs in early 2015. With support from the Vice-Chancellor’s Strategic Fund, 7 UCT MOOCs are currently being developed. Currently, UCT has partnered with British-based provider FutureLearn and American-based provider Coursera to offer MOOCs. These platforms provide institutions with a hosting environment for delivering courses at scale along with interactive features for student participation, content delivery and assessments.

The MOOC Implementation Team within CILT is responsible for managing the UCT MOOCs design and production, working closely with faculties, departments and academics to conceptualise, design, deliver and research MOOCs. The UCT funding has been allocated but if you're interested in having an informal conversation with the MOOC Implementation team on exploring the possibility of creating a MOOC, with your own funding, please contact Janet Small.