MOOCs stand for Massive Open Online Courses. These are free online courses from universities around the world (eg. Stanford, Harvard, MIT) offered to anyone with an internet connection. Several popular MOOC provider platforms have emerged, such as Coursera, Udacity, EdXMOOC List and NovoEd, that partner with universities and professors to offer MOOCs on their platforms.

Class Central is an aggregator of MOOC course listings and continually looks for and bring you high-quality MOOCs from reputable providers (and not just from the major providers).

MOOCs are designed for an online audience, teaching primarily through short (5-20 min.) pre recorded video lectures, that you watch on weekly schedule when convenient for you.  They also have student discussion forums, homework/assignments, and online quizzes or exams.

Een recent artikel van onderwijstechnologen die de kwaliteit van MOOCs onderzocht hebben met een link:
Instructional Quality of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), Margaryan, A., Bianco, M., & Littlejohn, A.
Computers & Education 80 (2015) 77-83. Klik op:

Enkele voorbeelden:



This course will cover a range of diverse areas of microbiology, including virology, bacteriology, and applied microbiology. This course will focus on the medical aspects of microbiology, as medical research has been the primary motivator in microbiology research. This course pairs well with BIO407: Immunology, which studies the body’s defenses against foreign invaders in great detail.

This course is comprised of a range of different free, online materials. However, the course makes primary use of the following materials:


As biotechnology is a very diverse topic, this course will introduce you to the major concepts shared by different fields and also explain some of the current major areas of biotechnology.  We will discuss genetic engineering of plants and animals, as well as the current major medical, environmental, and agricultural applications of each.  There are also a variety of topics that we will cover after this, from nanobiotechnology to environmental biotechnology.  As each field has its own science and terminology beyond biology, there are many new concepts and terms to be learned, which can cause some difficulty for students, so be patient and don’t become overwhelmed.


Combia University with Vincent Racaniello

Virology 1 How Viruses Cause Disease
This introductory virology course emphasizes the common reactions that must be completed by all viruses for successful reproduction within a host cell and survival and spread within a host population. The molecular basis of alternative reproductive cycles are presented with examples drawn from a set of representative animal and human viruses, although selected bacterial viruses will be discussed.


Epidemics   the Dynamics of Infectious Diseases

Malaria, HIV/AIDS, Influenza, Measles - we’re in a constant battle against infectious diseases. This is a course about the dynamics of such diseases - how they emerge, how they spread around the globe, and how they can best be controlled.


AIDS: Fear and Hope

About this course: The basic biology of the virus, HIV, and the disease it causes, AIDS. The economic, social and political factors that determine who gets sick and who remains healthy, who lives and who dies. The progress of scientific research and medical treatments. The reasons for hope; the reasons for fear. (To get a glimpse of some of the materials that students have been posting on the course forums, go to @AIDSFAH or #AIDSFAH.)


Antimicrobial Stewardship: Optimization of Antibiotic Practices

This course will offer a practical approach to prescribing antibiotic therapy and development of antimicrobial stewardship to physicians and pharmacists across all specialties and settings.


Molecular Biology: DNA Replication and Repair

An in-depth adventure through DNA replication and repair to strengthen your scientific thinking and experimental design skills.

Introduction to Biology-The secret of Life

Explore the secret of life through the basics of biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, recombinant DNA, genomics and rational medicine.


Representations of HIV/AIDS

This class engages students in a transdisciplinary conversation about representations of HIV/AIDS: in science writing, journalism, visual art, literature, drama, and popular culture. We believe that scientists and cultural critics can learn valuable lessons from one another, even as they create their own responses to HIV/AIDS. Today, over 30 years since the first scientific reports of HIV/AIDS, the pandemic remains a major health concern throughout the world. But, rays of hope have led to speculation that an AIDS-free generation may be possible. In such a timely moment, it is essential for us to connect across the "two cultures" as we consider the social and scientific implications of HIV/AIDS.


Microbes rule the world: Effects of Disease on History

An introduction of the  course on YouTube:
While biologists have long understood the power of disease to shape events in world history, the depth of that power has rarely emerged in history books. This course seeks to redress that imbalance through historical anecdote and scientific explanation as it investigates the ways in which diseases have affected dramatically the course of history across several topics, including religion, war, and migration. Participants will experience video lectures and vignettes with accompanying essays and learning exercises that will introduce them to the startling influence of microbes in the course of human events. Sharing good humor and a combined seven decades of teaching and friendship, the two professors from the fields of microbiology and history have designed tiered learning materials that allow students to venture as deeply as they desire into the links between disease and history. Participants may also choose which topics interest them the most and devote their energies accordingly.