They say all the world’s a stage – but with the growth of online learning – all the world’s a classroom. Universities and colleges worldwide have been offering an increasing number of classroom courses in an online setting. Known as massive open online courses (MOOCs), they offer educational opportunities to all students regardless of their financial situation or location.

The Financial Times has reported on the rise of MOOCs both in the US and the UK. The overall sentiment is that MOOCs are expected to increase educational opportunities for the less advantaged, while leading to improved curriculum on campuses. Even Ivy League universities are offering free, non-credit courses in a variety of disciplines. As an example, an archived Yale course on The American Revolution taught by Professor Joanne Freeman offers downloadable course materials and lectures via the Apple iTunes store.

And the growth of MOOCs since 2008 continues in earnest. The New York Times recently reported on two new ventures that will bring together 29 and 12 universities respectively into larger, multinational MOOCs. 

One interesting tidbit about MOOCs as reported by The New York Times:  While some of the university online classes can have upwards of 100K students per course, only about 10% complete them.