Cornell report understands the promise of MOOCs, but warns of shaky revenue, taking up faculty time

MOOCs-learning-cons Colleges across the country are either showcasing their massive open online courses (MOOCs), in stages of development, or considering their value as thousands of students attend distance learning courses on a daily basis. However, a new report cautions that there may be drawbacks to supporting one form of distance learning over another, and that some trends might not last forever.

The report, presented by the Cornell Distance Learning Committee—comprised of faculty members, administrators, and IT leaders—notes that new developments in distance learning are “generating much excitement,” especially with “the recent rise of MOOCs.”

However, though there is much excitement, there are many who are worried that issues such as faculty time, quality of the online class, and sustainability of the revenue model are just some of the reasons to hold back on over-offering, or over-investing in, MOOCs over other forms of distance learning.

Instead, the report advises that the institution “pursue a diverse portfolio of distance learning avenues, continually rebalancing it as evidence emerges…in particular, we do not want our faculty making commitments that adversely impact on-campus teaching and research.”

The committee suggests that Cornell should foster skills that can benefit online and on-campus courses while weighing the pros and cons:

(Next page: The pros)

"(Required)" indicates required fields