MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Courses, and is an intriguing new way of gathering knowledge without having to physically attend a University. The basic idea is to view streamed lectures on the net followed by online exercises, using discussion forums for questions and debate on issues relevant to the course and taking online quizzes to test your understanding of what you´ve learnt. This way large amounts of subjects in a variety of academic disciplines becomes accessible to huge amounts of people.
The course I´m currently taking is led by Professors from Duke University and the University of North Carolina, and can be accessed through http://www.coursera.org . Registration is easy and without charge, and makes it possible to follow the course through a very easily navigated interface. It´s called “Think again: How to reason and argue” and deals with what arguments are and how they are constructed, how to analyze arguments and avoid mistakes in reasoning. I´m in my second week and so far it´s been quite fascinating. It´s good to study something that´s very different from your usual line of work, and obviously it has many real life applications. Currently there are over 126 000 persons following this course, really justifying the use of the word Massive in the term MOOC.
Something tells me this is probably not going to be my last MOOC.