Since their inception, there has been a flurry of debate around the legitimacy and efficacy of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), writes Andrew Smith Lewis at Re/code. Widely recognized as game-changing in education, they offer radical reach and democratize access to education unlike anything we’ve ever seen. However, the rise of anything new and exciting is typically accompanied by criticism. In the case of MOOCs, it has been heavy. Skeptics point to uncertainty in scalability, assessment, engagement — the list goes on.

The main argument being made against MOOCs attacks the perceived lack of success as measured by their low completion rates (Mass MOOC Dropouts). The interpretation of this metric varies greatly.

Critics are obsessed with the infamous five percent rate, pointing out that “If 95 percent of students who enrolled in a residential college course dropped out or failed, that course would rightly be considered a disaster.”

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