2014: The Year People Continued Caring about MOOCs

The Chronicle of Higher Education asks if 2014 is the year that the media stopped caring about MOOCs (massive open online courses).

Rather than extrapolating from a single incident, as the Chronicle piece does, Stephen Downes has found media activity on MOOCs be more stable.

The chronicle piece wonders: “what is 2014? The year that MOOCs ceased to be interesting—at least to anybody not working on them directly?” I think this suggestion risks conflating media interest with public interest. Judging by the number of searches for this term, public interest in MOOCs continues to rise.

a graph from google trends showing the relative number of searches for some mooc-related search terms

Some other suggestions from the search data:

  • The number of searches for e learning continues to slowly increase.
  • The recent emergence of MOOCs, and interest in MOOCs, does not coincide with a fall in searches for online learning.
  • More people are searching about online learning than MOOCs.
  • More people are searching for specific providers than are searching for MOOCs or elearning. Are people therefore more interested in the product than the platform? This would suggest that the debate about MOOCs and/versus online learning is less important to most people than accessing a platform that provides something useful.
  • Udacity made a strong start, but were soon overtaken by coursera.
  • About 5 times as many people search for coursera as search for udacity.