The video "What is a MOOC?" (by Dave Cormier, 2010) illustrates the idea behind a MOOC:

The abbreviation MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course:

  • M = Massive: many participants
  • O = Open: Openness means freely accessible via the World Wide Web:
    • without restrictions (e.g. number of participants, extent of one’s own participation)
    • location-independent, time-independent (exceptions: e.g. live events, chats)
  • O = Online: means that the course takes place on the web.
  • C = Course: stands for a course with features such as:
    • content structured various units
    • one or more teachers
    • supervision and exchange with other course participants
    • fixed start and end dates or continuous (i.e. courses you can join at any time)

The content is conveyed in the form of video sequences, lecture notes and supplementary learning materials. Exchange among participants takes place in forums and social networks. Knowledge is usually checked by multiple-choice tests.

George Siemens (one of the MOOC pioneers) has created a vivid presentation called "Designing and Running a MOOC".

The most common forms currently offered are cMOOCs and xMOOCs:

  • cMOOC: The "c" stands for a "connectivist or constructivist" MOOC—the course form originally intended by Downes and Siemens, which is similar to a seminar. Examples of cMOOCs are OPCO12 and COER13.
  • xMOOC: The "x" stands for "extension". An xMOOC is usually designed to be instructional or lecture-like and usually has a very large number of participants. Examples are the courses offered on the MOOC platforms Udacity, Coursera, etc.

There are also other forms that are used less frequently (examples).


MOOC platforms such as Coursera, edXand Udacity can not only host a MOOC but aso promote it in advance with a trailer. Potential participants can search for courses and enroll on the platform.

MOOCs are also offered through other platforms—for example, in combination with web applications for communication and exchange, such as forums, blogs and social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

Offer a TUM MOOC

If you are a TUM lecturer and would like to offer a MOOC, please contact Konstantina Koumpouli.

From the concept to the launch of a MOOC

  • Create project plan.
  • Fully design a pilot unit (including video production and materials).
  • After acceptance of the pilot unit, finalize the overall MOOC.
  • Create content on the MOOC Platform.
  • Announce and advertise the MOOC.
  • Launch the MOOC.
  • Evaluate the MOOC.

Basic considerations

If you want to create and offer a MOOC, some basic considerations are helpful in advance:

  • What is the topic of the course?
  • How long does the course take?
  • What is the target group? (previous knowledge, level)
  • What content will be conveyed and how will it be prepared for the internet?
  • What is the pedagogical approach?
  • With what methods will it be implemented?
  • What support services are planned for the participants?
  • Where will the course be made available?
  • Are additional web applications desired, e.g. for communication and exchange?
  • What time, personnel, technical and financial resources are available?

Insights into these questions can be found in the videos "Designing and Running a MOOC" by George Siemens (slides 27–37) and "Success in a MOOC" by Dave Cormier.

At the TUM
Current MOOCs taking place at the TUM can be found on the website in the TUM portal "Online learning worldwide with MOOCs".

On the website of the German Education Server you can search for MOOCs worldwide.


The links below provide extensive information about MOOCs on the following topics:

General definition of terms; history and development; current differentiations; MOOCs in German-speaking countries; questions about participants, pedagogy and exams in the context of MOOCs; business models:

In 2008, the Canadians Stephen Downes and George Siemens conducted the first open online course with "Connectivism and Connective Knowledge". Since then, the number of MOOCs offered worldwide has increased steadily. Currently (as of 2017), for example, far more than 1000 open online courses are offered on the Coursera and edX platforms.

Below is a selection of MOOCs that have taken place since 2008:

Current MOOCs at TUM

Follow this link: MOOCs at TUM