Power to the student

The interest in the knowledge economy is growing worldwide and a result of this trend is the Massive Online Open Course (MOOC), the Indian Express reports.

A surge in the number of people opting for MOOCs worldwide urges us to look at a few pressing issues — are MOOCs just a reflection of enthusiasm from learners or an indication of an underlying problem? Does rising of MOOCs imply the demise of university degrees or make the teacher obsolete? Globally, work is no longer only production-oriented and traditional.

It is becoming more knowledge-based and students’ demands and needs seem to have changed. Somehow, universities around the world have failed to live up to this transition. Discussing this issue at great length were experts at the WISE Summit held in October last year.

Let’s look at the pro’s of this method of learning — free of cost, flexibility, solution to demand for knowledge, accessible to all, creating of an archive of knowledge, encouraging to both students and professors to improve, etc. But despite this, MOOCs have attracted controversy, no doubt, in the last few years.

The skepticism surrounding this phenomenon is a mixture of many factors — high dropout rates, lack of certification, giving teachers a less important role of moderator and mediator, missing out on the college experience and intellectual property issues. That said, MOOCs are going to produce a dramatic systemic change.

According to the experts, it is just a word that reflects different political, economic and technological trends. They are part of a shadow learning economy — a supply side solution to a knowledge side demand problem we are facing in the world.

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