mooc-cow“A MOOC?,” you say. “What’s a MOOC? The sound a cow makes when it’s having sex?”

If you’ve ever found yourself asking that question, or you’re asking it now, you may be new to the world of ed-tech. Don’t worry, we’ve got a MOOCs 101 tutorial to give you the two-minute rundown. Even better, it comes in the form of a data visualization, i.e. illustrations for adults.

MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Courses. The concept involves which is growing popular among  prominent universities, involves filming classes and putting them online, frequently free for the masses. The idea to democratize education, allowing those who can’t afford it to learn virtually alongside those who can.

MOOCs are an education technology trend The New York Times claimed was sweeping the nation in 2012. With millions of students signing up for courses and more than 30 universities offering them, include some of the most elite, people started to believe the idea would transform the nature of higher education.

Unfortunately, since then the beloved, exalted MOOC has fallen on harder times, with the godfather of the movement recently disavowing his baby to Fast Company, saying, “We have a lousy product.” Critics are eyeing the efficacy of the courses a little more closely these days, debating whether a style of learning where less than ten percent of participants are estimated to actually finish the classes is really destined to democratize and transform education and access.

Still, MOOCs plug on.

This following data visualization, built by Pando reader Brian Clark, gives a rundown of the industry, its FAQs, and a variety of relevant, and perhaps more importantly up-to-date statistics. (Click for a full-sized image)

MOOCs
Source: Top10OnlineColleges.org

[illustration by Brad Jonas for Pando]