There seems to be a buzz in higher education these days about Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Some people say it has changed education since they are free to the world and accessible to anyone. What happens if you ask a senior in high school what a MOOC is? Do they even know what a MOOC is? Probably not.
The premise that MOOCs are going to disrupt the entire education system is premature. According to Andrew Kelly, the director of the Center on Higher Education Reform at the American Enterprise Institute, “The reality is that the vast majority of people who sign up for this type of class already have bachelor’s degrees.”
It’s certainly an admirable goal to target MOOCs to people in Africa, India, China, and elsewhere in the world, but aren’t people more comfortable with learning on the Internet through informal pathways, such as Wikipedia?
Compound this fact with the low number of students who actually complete a MOOC they sign up for – which is fewer than 10%. I’ve signed up for a MOOC, reviewed the high quality content, but completely ingnored the assessments and discussion boards. It seems like the discussion boards lose their activity over time anyway.
I like the concept of a SMOOC, or a synconous-MOOC. I think people learn better together, so hold virtual online classes seems much more engaging.
I ask you – are MOOCs the future of Higher Ed, or are they simply a moot fad?
Read this article if you want to learn more: http://www.fastcompany.com/3021473/udacity-sebastian-thrun-uphill-climb