Gates: Community colleges should give MOOCs a try

“Recorded music meant that there were aspects — not all aspects of music — but aspects like the lecture where the very, very best gets used thousands and thousands of times instead of just getting used once,” Gates said. “We’re definitely coming to that type of change.”

But it’s still not a change that many community college faculty and administrators feel is a right fit for their students.

Congressman Ruben Hinojosa, the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training, told eCampus News in July that community colleges need to adopt ways of delivering education that are geared specifically toward them, and stay away from the university-focused MOOCs.

“While MOOCs have gained international attention for their innovation, they were not designed to serve the type of students who attend these institutions,” he said.

J. Noah Brown, the president of the ACCT, said he is also skeptical of MOOCs and their application to two-year institutions.

Pointing to a study from the Community College Research Center which suggests that community college students struggle with any kind of online learning, Brown said that MOOCs, in their current incarnation, just don’t work for the students he and his colleagues work with.

“There’s the digital divide and issues of deficiencies in terms of reading and writing,” he said. “In many cases, there’s a need for a pretty high level of human interaction in order to get these issues squared away and to correct any deficits they have. MOOCs may ultimately be beneficial, but right now it’s not clear to me.”

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