Photograph of a diverse group of students.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC's)

A MOOC is a type of FREE online course aimed at large-scale participation and open access via the web. MOOCs are a recent development in the area of distance education, and a continuation of the kind of open education ideals suggested by open educational resources.

SUNY's Empire State College was one of the first institutions in the United States to offer a MOOC. SUNY was one of ten public university systems that announced an agreement with Coursera (May 2013) that enables use of their platform to deliver MOOCs. Under the terms of this agreement, SUNY campuses have the opportunity to work with Coursera to deliver courses to students within SUNY or across the globe.



MOOCs are not entirely new to SUNY, and in addition to a new course delivery option, this partnership enables SUNY faculty to join a community of researchers to investigate and assess the impact MOOCs may have on education and student learning. SUNY recognizes that MOOCs are a tool that may play an important role in learning opportunities of our students, alumni, and others, in response to our common mission of access, completion and success.

tompkins cortland community college logo

Tompkins Cortland Community College is one of 8 colleges is participating in the Kaleidoscope Project:

"Kaleidoscope set out to implement a set of fully open general education courses across eight colleges serving predominantly at-risk students, dramatically reduce textbook costs, and allow collaborative improvement of course designs to improve student success. The project exceeded these goals by moving the cost of required textbooks in participating courses to $0 (by replacing textbooks with OER) and improving average student success rates by 5-10% when compared to student performance in the same courses offered by the same instructors in previous years. After a second round of funding, a total of more than 25 partner institutions participated and benefitted from this project."

At TC3, from 2011-2013, 698 students saved an estimated $69,800 on textbooks costs and there was an 26.7% increase in passing grades accompanied by a 15% decrease in withdrawal rates in the Psychology courses developed by Kaleidoscope. TC3 instructor Sophia Georgiakaki adopted an open textbook and states: "We went from $120 to $0 [in textbook costs] and we offer the same content." Read TC3's OER Playbook.

TC3 video on OERs

TC3 video on adopting an Open Course

Lumen Learning Open Courses

Open Courseware

Open courseware is anything made open to the public that is used to teach a course. This can include individual lectures, presentations, and tools, but it can also include entire open courses where this courseware is packaged together. Listed below are recommended sources for open courseware.

Open Courseware by Institutions

MERLOT Open Course Materials

Massive Open Online Courses