Defined as “a course of study made available over the Internet without charge to a very large number of people”, the word Mooc has become commonplace in academia over the last 18 months, after many higher education institutions began offering such courses.
The phrase can be traced back to 2008, when a group of Canadian scholars developed a course called Connectivism and Connective Knowledge, which was delivered to more than 2,000 online students.
However, it was in late 2011 when the Stanford University Mooc “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence” attracted around 160,000 enrolments that massive open online courses became more widely known.
Angus Stevenson, head of dictionary projects at Oxford Dictionaries, said: “New words, senses, and phrases are added when we have gathered enough independent evidence from a range of sources to be confident that they have widespread currency in English.”
Mooc is not the only education-related word to be making its debut in the online dictionary. BYOD, an abbreviation of “bring your own device” has also been added. It refers to the practice of people using their own computers, smartphones, or other devices for work purposes, and is increasingly being used in universities, with lecturers encouraging students to use their own gadgets during class.
Each month, Oxford Dictionaries adds around 150 million words to its central database of English usage examples, and approximately 1,000 of these are added to Oxford Dictionaries Online each year.