In 2008, Stephen Downes and George Siemens developed an online course called Connectivism and Connective Knowledge. Little did they know the trend that they set in motion. The two professors from Canada's University of Manitoba introduced the next biggest thing in education: the first-ever massive open online course (MOOC). Downes detailed his work with Siemens in a 2011 Huffington Post article, "'Connectivism' and Connective Knowledge." This first course was open to tuition-paying students at the university, but Downes and Siemens also opened the door to nonpaying students. In fact, more than 2,200 students worldwide signed up for the 12-week course. At a session at this year's American Library Association Annual Conference, Valerie Hill, PhD, and librarian at Texas Woman's University School of Library and Information Studies, described three key advantages of MOOCs: price, variety, and accessibility. Not everyone is as optimistic about the potential of MOOCs as was Sebastian Thrun, but they may have a place in the hallowed halls of higher education.
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