When the higher education sector pioneered massive open online courses (or Moocs, as they are more commonly known) it was heralded as an exciting step towards accessible education for all.

For the first time, access to university-level education was no longer dependent on merit or means but simply on enthusiasm and commitment, The Guardian reports.

Investing in the content of such online courses was worthwhile, universities decided, because they would help attract would-be students to their traditional. fee-charging degree qualifications. They would act as tasters to lure students to the educational feast universities...

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