Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are one of the most prominent trends in higher education in recent years. The term ‘MOOCs’ represents open access, global, free, video-based instructional content, videos, problem sets and forums released through an online platform to high volume participants aiming to take a course or to be educated. With time and place flexibility, MOOCs gathers scholars and ‘like-minded fellow learners around the globe’. Although it has a great prominence in its implementation, there is a lack of research studies and critical papers examining its current situation around the world. For this aim, beginning with the definition and a brief history of MOOCs, this paper examines it from various dimensions: pedagogical and technological implementations around the world and its research focus. Therefore, a literature review on MOOCs characteristics, timeline of its development and a blend of practical issues with the experiences of well-known MOOCs providers are presented.
2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.