Can MOOCs and the humanities coexist?

A debate is currently brewing about whether or not the humanities are in decline and what, if anything, can and should be done about it.

humanities-moocs-coexistThe main concern is that at many of the nation’s top universities, humanities enrollments are going down in favor of more job-focused tracks like science and math, and even some public schools are seeing their humanities programs cut due to a lack of students.

Whether they think there is a problem or not, many educators agree that if the humanities are losing out, it is because these subjects are simply not as closely linked to economic success as, say, engineering.

This is unfortunate because many of the top skills employers are looking for, like critical thinking and problem solving, are exactly the kinds of skills humanities courses endeavor to teach.

The link between coursework and job skills isn’t absent; it’s just more difficult to see.

What can be done to spur more interest in the humanities? How can students be convinced that the humanities are still relevant in today’s world?

One answer might be MOOCs. Humanities courses make up a large portion of MOOC offerings, and the number of students who enroll in these courses is second only to the number who enroll in computer science courses.

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