Universal access to high-quality college courses at low cost for students anywhere with an Internet connection continues to make Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) the innovation that will, in the minds of its advocates, “revolutionize” or to use the favorite word of entrepreneurs, “disrupt” higher education, The Washington Post reports. Deep and abiding issues, however, prevent MOOCs from revolutionizing higher education. One issue is money. States have reduced funding for public higher education institutions. Universities have lowered labor costs by increasing adjunct and part-time faculty yet have raised tuition so that students face prices for going to college that far outstrip increases in wages and the cost of living. So how can MOOCs be converted into a revenue stream for money-strapped institutions? The other issue is the pattern of universities taming innovations to keep things as they are, a pattern that entrepreneurial reformers scorn and wish to overturn.
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