Online Courses Might Transform Higher Education

Career College Central Summary: 
  • With MOOCs, a lecture course that draws a couple hundred students on campus can be converted to something that draws tens of thousands from around the globe. For the moment, providers of MOOCs make their courses available to anyone. There is no admissions process. Anyone can start, but you have to master levels that can include very difficult work. For the 10 percent who get to the end, the learning is real.
  • To create a good MOOC, the faculty member and support staff  need to understand how people learn. A body of scholarly literature called “learning theory” has explored this for some time, and the world of MOOCs draws heavily on that research. What’s more, the data generated by students’ participation in MOOCs promise to dramatically expand our capacity to understand diverse learning styles and to tailor pedagogy to the individual student.
  • With MOOCs, a student can find an expert instructor on a broad range of specialized arts and sciences subjects, well beyond those previously offered in distance education. With MOOCs, a student could mix and match on-campus and online courses to best support their learning style, and schools could focus on what they do best without students needing to forfeit other kinds of learning.
  • The questions before us are whether top-ranked colleges and universities will use MOOCs to enhance their educational offerings and whether decisions to give credit for them.
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