With college tuition prices spiraling ever upward, it seems counter-intuitive that top schools like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University would also be racing to make their courses free online, U.S. News reports. Massive open online courses, also known as MOOCs, have taken off in the last few years as universities have made classes available online, both directly and via services like Coursera. As the MOOC landscape shifts quickly and schools race to keep up, here are a few of the ways that the trend of free online courses could significantly reshape the higher education landscape. “When you teach a MOOC, you have to be a deliberate teacher,” said Richard DeMillo, director of the Center for 21st Century Universities at the Georgia Institute of Technology, at the U.S. News 2013 Stem Solutions Conference. In a MOOC, he said, the professor has to make the lecture leaner and more efficient, without unnecessary digressions. For example, a professor may explicitly state the goals of a particular course segment and be forced to follow through: “The next 11 minutes are going to be devoted to teaching you this concept, this idea, this technique,” Demillo explained.