The potential for online courses to satisfy the expected explosion in demand for a college degree could be stunted by a lack of access to basic technologies in some parts of the world.

MOOCs won’t matter, in other words, if countries with the greatest growth in college students don’t have reliable internet access.

“Exacerbating the challenge is the digital divide where access to opportunity increasingly calls for access to technology,” the authors wrote. “In both the developed and developing world, this gap continues to widen, and the technology-based solutions for providing greater access to knowledge, such as MOOCs, have little effectiveness if the proper infrastructure or connectivity are not readily available.”

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