A flat world exacerbates income equality. The flows of money, people, and ideas across international borders cause wealth to agglomerate in a few places, Pacific Standard reports.
But one overlooked benefit of online learning has been to help universities find a new generation of talented students – and perhaps, along the way, society’s next Steve Jobs, Maya Angelou, or Yo-Yo Ma. Battushig, Amol, and Taha used MOOCs to connect them to intellectual communities that have matched their ambition with opportunities they wouldn’t have otherwise had.
If innovation in its many forms is the currency of the future, could MOOCs emerge as a tool for finding the unknown geniuses of tomorrow? That’s what universities from Harvard to Duke to MIT to the Berklee College of Music in Boston believe. They are rushing to use online courses as a way not just to bring education to vast numbers of people who normally wouldn’t have access, but also to use them as a way to conduct a global talent search. It’s like “American Idol” for the Einstein set.
Piotr Mitros, chief scientist at edX, the MOOC platform created by MIT and Harvard to dispense learning online, notes that 5 billion people around the world lack access to a decent education. Among them, he says, “are millions who are brilliant and don’t have an opportunity to do anything with that.” Twenty years ago, he adds, there was no way to tap and teach these students. “Now we have the means to do it.”
MOOCs are supposed to pop the higher education bubble. Why buy the cow if you get the milk for free?