Massive online open courses, while benefiting many that would not receive the education otherwise, should be a complement, not a replacement, to traditional lecture hall classes, the Daily Tarheel reports.
UNC launched its first MOOC last week on the Coursera interface to be accessed by thousands of students and nonstudents across the globe for free, but not for class credit yet.
Given that it’s in the UNC system charter to provide accessible education to the citizens of North Carolina, this new methodology is in step with the University’s greater goals.
While MOOCs increase access to education from esteemed universities, it shouldn’t be seen as a solution to large lecture halls.
Though students have a tendency to get lost in 100-person classes, it is the face-to-face interactions in the mandatory recitation sections that ensure a student is actually digesting information.
Coursera does include discussion forums meant to connect students to the professor and each other.
Yet it still can not offer the same environment as a teaching assistant facilitating round-table debates.
It also wouldn’t be fair to the student in the physical classroom that has met the rigorous demands of lectures and in-class exams to be equated to a MOOC.