"Massive open online courses," or MOOCs — the fast-growing movement to put higher-education courses online for free, have gotten the attention of President Obama, WGBH reports.

"Universities like Carnegie Mellon, Arizona State, they're starting to show that online learning can help students master the same material in less time and often at lower costs," Obama said recently.

But the jury is still out on the effectiveness of online courses: Are they worth the hype or a passing fad?

At Bunker Hill Community College in Charlestown second-year computer science student Osa Ohiomoba sinks into a chair in the student lounge, his fingers dancing across...

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