Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) continue to gain momentum and prominence among the mainstream. I think I even recently saw someone list a MOOC course under their educational experience on their LinkedIN profile! With the steady rise in MOOCs, they are being considered on a more serious level – and in some cases being seen as a threat as traditional universities are forced into budget cuts.
My personal opinion on this matter is that MOOCs will elicit change, even if they are seen as a threat. Everyone knows that competition encourages innovations. Maybe these free elearning courses are what traditional universities need to further entice their offerings. It appears for now that the major institutions that are partaking in MOOCs are doing so to increase their brand. Perhaps there will be additional value to both the student and university over time – but we’re very much in the early phases with MOOCs.
What’s great about MOOCs, or distance learning for that matter, is that it makes continual education more accessible. With 4 out of 10 college students being over the age of 25 years old, the demands for a typical student are quite different than in the past. Most individuals that are 25 years old have jobs – heck careers – that they are also juggling. This means that the MOOC distance learning experiment is proving to be all that more interesting!
As I have mentioned before, I think that the MOOC distance learning model is a great way to offer alternative pre-requisite education to early university students. Allow for the first two years of a four year degree to take place virtually and you’re more likely to land that student for the final two years on the university’s campus. Still, time will tell what comes of the MOOC disruptive force!
What do you think? Have a look at this infographic by 20 Million Minds Foundation: