Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) were expected to change the nature of higher education, and they have—but perhaps not as expected. The initial optimism for MOOCs surpassed realistic goals of what they would be able to accomplish. The disappointment that followed has often overshadowed the valuable contributions that are still being made by MOOCs today.
The full implications of MOOCs are wide reaching and have not yet been fully realized, but there are a few tangible lessons for professors and institutions looking to engage with the digital medium. By leveraging massive scale, MOOCs are able to host large numbers of students at one time, but also enhance student feedback processes, collaboration, and pedagogical innovation through the use of big data.