With MOOCs, the strong get stronger. But everybody else…

The MOOC opportunity is to expand access to learning broadly across the world, with great potential societal and economic benefits–e.g., larger numbers of educated people with shared knowledge, building the global community, The Wall Street Journal reports.

MOOCs will also build the brands of the best educators.

But that’s a risk, too. Those best educators work at institutions that might benefit from their courses being sold online, as the competition crowds out all but the stars. MOOCS will help the best extend their reach but could further weaken already-struggling mid- and lower-tier institutions. The other, but smaller, risk, is that MOOCS won’t live up to their hype.

They will become like the old TV broadcast series, “Sunrise Semester”—a form of entertainment but not serious learning and with disappointed consumers. All that means is that there is still much work to do to perfect the MOOC model. I believe that will happen, but maybe not in exactly the form being talked about today.

Read more