The new term MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) has immediately attracted the masses even though it is just another label for a diversity of different online learning scenarios and methodologies that were already developed and implemented many years before.
Nowadays, different types of MOOCs (so called cMOOCs and xMOOCs) are discussed but the focus is still on the masses, technology and promised innovations that are not easily to discover: Most MOOCs are lacking continuous tutoring and support for all learners who are expected to teach themselves.
Not only the high drop-out rates have raised the question of quality for MOOCs and several international conferences (such as LINQ 2014) had a special focus on MOOCs. On the other hand MOOCs have prepared the future path for opening up education.
As often criticized for their quality (e.g. by Daniel 2012 and Stracke 2015), the European initiative MOOQ for the quality of MOOCs is focusing to make MOOCs better. The main outocome of the MOOQ intiative has been the Quality Reference Framework for MOOCs (MOOC QRF).
The MOOC QRF was developed following the mixed method research approach and based on the findings from (1) the Global MOOC Quality Survey addressing MOOC learners, designers and facilitators (a huge success with hundreds of participants), (2) 45 semi-structured interviews conducted with MOOC providers, designers and facilitators (leading to in-depth insights) and (3) a series of workshops at international conferences to allow contributions and feedback from all interested stakeholders worldwide.
The following sections describe in details the MOOC QRF.