A New York Times headline proclaimed 2012 the "year of the MOOC" because so many colleges, universities and startups have been rushing to offer "massive open online courses" that are free and open to everyone.
Dozens of big-name universities partnered with an award-winning startup called Couresra in the past year to put videotapes of some of their best professors on the Web for all to see. Google created special free software for creating free online courses, and individual colleges like Stanford and MIT rolled out their own online learning platforms for the public, too.
Many of these new online learning platforms use social media to allow for peer-to-peer review of assignments and to encourage knowledge sharing in online study groups among those taking the courses.
For an introduction to these emerging social learning platforms, check out: