Are MOOCs already over, The Washington Post reports?
It may seem like an odd question given that the Massive Open Online Courses have been touted as the future of higher education, and that it seems like just yesterday that the country’s major universities were rushing to create courses to grab their share of the expected global market.
New data from a University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education study raises big questions about the future of MOOCs.
The study, which, looked at the MOOC behavior of 1 million people who signed up for courses offered by the university on the Coursera platform from June 2012 to June 2013, found that only 4 percent completed the classes and that “engagement” of students falls dramatically in the first few weeks of a course. Registrants were found to be disproportionately wealthy, male and educated.
Last year, the University of Pennsylvania became a partner with Coursera, an educational technology company, along with other elite schools such as Stanford University, Princeton University, and the University of Michigan. MOOCs were hailed as the future of higher and possibly all education, providing students around the world free courses created by experts in various fields.
Some education historians were less sanguine about just how much the technology would transform education; Stanford University’s Larry Cuban called such thinking “irrational exuberance” in several posts about the subject.