How do MOOCs fit into the general higher education landscape? Or are they more suited to the “fringe?”
Traditional online classes charge tuition to students who earn credits and are usually limited to a certain number of students before the class is considered to be full (Pappano, 2012). On the other hand, massive open online courses (MOOC) are usually free online courses that are credit-less and just as the title explains, are open to the masses (Pappano, 2012). MOOC’s have become the latest trend amongst colleges and universities and while there are some positives effects for taking MOOC’s there are also some negative effects as students may receive an excellent education but will not receive a diploma after completing courses (BDPA Detroit Chapter, N.D.). MOOC’s were intended to reach the masses offering mostly free classes to anyone who wanted to enroll. However, what has been found is that the majorities of students who enroll in these courses already have a degree and are white males (Selingo, 2014).
What can traditional higher education institutions learn from MOOCs to use them effectively as a learning tool?
Typically a student participating in a MOOC will watch a lecture, read assigned coursework material, participate in discussion forums, and complete tests and quizzes on course materials (Educause, 2013). The courses offered through MOOC’s are numerous and traditional higher education institutions can look for data that entails which courses have high enrollment to include these courses in the institution’s course catalogs. MOOCs provide an endless possibility of educational technology and distance learning (Johnson, Nafukho, LeCounte, Valentin & Valentin, 2014). There are several start-up companies working with universities to offer MOOCs and there are colleges and professors that are starting their own MOOCs (The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2012). The opportunity to engage in this new phenomenon and the increase of publicity for MOOCs has universities seeing the unlimited opportunities of engagement between universities and students all over the world (Johnson et al., 2014). Johnson et al. (2014) cited Storey, Wright, and Ulrich stating, “MOOCs enable higher education institutions to focus on the valuable and internal resources of faculty and staff capabilities that already exist in the organization that can assist in outperforming competitors” (p. 11).
How can institutions measure the quality of MOOC design, delivery, and outcomes such that they can be included in a student’s transcript and graduation requirements? Discuss the likelihood of that occurrence.
When the student pays to complete the course for college credit, it is more likely that the student will complete the course, as the course is set up similar to the traditional and online courses as the course has a syllabus, lectures, readings, and assignments that the student must complete (Educause, 2013). Students are in total control when taking a MOOC as the student can navigate through the course and can choose what material the student desires to learn from the course syllabus making the likelihood of the student to complete the course low (Selingo, 2014). While most MOOC’s are free, some involve a fee giving students the option to receive a completion certificate or course credit (Educause, 2013).
BDPA Detroit Chapter. (N.D.). MOOCs: Top 10 sites for free education with elite universities. Retrieved from http://www.bdpa-detroit.org/portal/index.php/comittees/high-school-computer-competition-hscc/29-education/57-moocs-top-10-sites-for-free-education-with-elite-universities.html
Educause. (2013). 7 Things you should know about MOOCs II. Retrieved from
Johnson, D., Nafukho, F., LeCounte, J., Valentin, C. & Valentin, M. (2014). The origin
of MOOCs: The beginning of the revolution of all at once-ness. Retrieved from http://www.ufhrd.co.uk/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Detra-Johnson.pdf
Pappano, L. (2012). The year of the MOOC. Retrieved from
Selingo, J. J. (2014, October 29). Demystifying the MOOC. The New York Times.
The Chronicle of Higher Education. (2012). What you need to know about MOOCs.