The magic beyond the MOOCs

Of the great deal written about MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) in recent months, much has been positive, some frothy, some skeptical, and some outright negative, MIT’s Faculty Newsletter reports. Online education is likely a game changer for those who don’t have access to residential education but will it – the question goes – replace residential education? That is the fear in some quarters (and the hope in others). Our personal view is: not in the foreseeable future. The edX platform, which has simulations, advanced assessment, and discussion forums, is becoming more capable every month, but there is essential magic in residential in-person education that is difficult to articulate, let alone replicate online. Meanwhile, independent concerns over the high costs of higher education are triggering a re-examination of the value of residential education. Online tools may be just the cure that saves residential education by increasing the value it provides, not the disruption that kills it.

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