Apr 30 2013

Does the Khan Academy Pass the MOOC “Duck Test”?

It may look like a MOOC and sound like a MOOC, but founder Salman Khan has something else in mind.

Massive open online courses, better known as MOOCs, are at the forefront of a movement to re-evaluate the traditional learning environment. Dave Cormier of the University of Prince Edward Island coined the term MOOC in 2008. Although there is not a standard definition, all MOOCs share several characteristics.

By all appearances, the Khan Academy passes the MOOC “Duck Test.” But even though it may look like a MOOC and sound like a MOOC, founder Salman Khan maintains that the Khan Academy is not a MOOC.

The not-for-profit organization launched in 2006 with a mission to make education more accessible by providing free world-class resources to anyone, anywhere. MOOC or not, the Khan Academy did plant a seed to help MOOCs grow into the phenomenon they are today.

In a YouTube video interview created for Community College Times, Khan talks about his inspiration for starting the Khan Academy and shares his thoughts on what distinguishes his organization from MOOCs.

Khan classifies a MOOC as a “transplantation” of a traditional course, and he stresses the on-demand capabilities of the Khan Academy’s more than 4,000 videos, interactive challenges and assessments as elements not found with a standard MOOC.

Opponents of MOOCs fear that online learning will deprive students of human interaction, but Khan believes that MOOCs and the Khan Academy will supplement rather than supplant physical courses.

View Khan’s Q&A video below.


More On


Learn from Your Peers

What can you glean about security from other IT pros? Check out new CDW research and insight from our experts.