Why some colleges turn down MOOCs

Massive Open Online Courses (or “MOOC’s,” as they’re sometimes called) are something of a trend in education these days, Distance Education reports. But not all colleges are buying into it. For example, Amherst College recently turned down an invitation to become one of the exclusive consortium of schools involved with edX, a Cambridge-based nonprofit that offers online courses for colleges—a group that includes Harvard and MIT. EdX has only twelve institutional partners—but it’s received inquiries about membership from over 300 colleges nationwide. So Amherst’s refusal of this invitation is something of a surprise. Here are a few reasons why Amherst may have turned it down—and why other colleges might do the same with MOOC’s.  MOOC’s are often touted as the solution to rising tuition costs—they’re supposed to make education cheaper to deliver, reduce costs for both students and schools, and increase access. But it doesn’t always work out that way in practice. For instance, MOOC’s aren’t free to develop or implement. EdX charges at least $250,000 per course for organizations that want help developing their own courses—although partner schools can use existing courses on the edX platform for free.

Read more