近两年，世界名校网络公开课受到热捧，各大字幕组争相出字幕，门户网站也争相购版权。一时间，追随网络公开课的人似乎都有点比别人先进一步的感觉。这些网络公开课在英语里叫Massive Open Online Course（MOOC）。
MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are the latest addition to the acronym-bound lexicon of higher education, and quite possibly the most significant of them all. They represent a new generation of online education, freely accessible on the internet and geared towards very large student numbers.
The phenomenon has been likened by the president of Stanford University to "a digital tsunami", threatening to sweep aside conventional university education. Whether or not the rise of MOOCs will prove to warrant such hyperbole, there is no doubt that something very important is happening in the global system, raising profound questions about the very nature and future of higher education.
At this early stage of the MOOC revolution, it is premature to predict the impacts on conventional higher education providers. The universities and private venture funds investing in this area openly acknowledge the high level of experimentation and testing of waters involved. The current MOOC offerings are mostly digital versions of conventional pedagogies – what blogger Dan Butin has called "Learning 1.0 products in a Web 2.0 world".
This can and will change through the incorporation of the kinds of user interactivity already well-established in social media technologies. There is no inherent reason why MOOC-acquired learning cannot be accredited and recognized, especially as the market for degree-awarding powers opens up, subject perhaps to appropriate quality assurance arrangements.