Exploring the ‘dark side’ of MOOCs

New infograph illustrates MOOC critics’ viewpoints.

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are the latest higher-education trend to capture attention, but not everyone is convinced that MOOCs are the solution to accessible post-secondary education. A new infograph sheds light on higher-education institutions’ opinions about MOOCs, their sustainability, and more.

The Dark Side of MOOCs, released by Online Colleges, an online education information resource,  explores whether or not massive open online courses live up to their hype.

It’s no secret that many colleges are concerned about the sustainability of MOOCs. In fact, 55 percent of surveyed institutions said they were undecided about their plans to offer MOOCs, while 32.7 percent said they had no plans to offer MOOCs. A mere 9.4 percent said they were in the planning stages to offer MOOCs, and a smaller 2.6 percent said they currently offer a MOOC.…Read More

A new business model for MOOCs: Gateway to degree programs

MOOC2Degree allows students to take free, open, for-credit courses so as to encourage them to enroll in college full-time.

Nine universities will pilot a new game-changing business model that offers students free access to massive open online courses (MOOCs) for credit in hopes of increasing college enrollment and accessibility.

The new model, called MOOC2Degree, is presented by Academic Partnerships, a Dallas-based firm that helps universities develop and market online courses.

“The concept is to make the first course in a degree program a MOOC—open, free, and for-credit,” said Randy Best, chairman and CEO of Academic Partnerships. “I think MOOC2Degree is a game-changer in that it applies to almost any university around the world. It gives them greater access to students, [and] the ability to observe [students’] academic performance—and [it enables] tens of thousands of working adults to try online learning risk-free to see if it fits them.”…Read More

Pondering the future of MOOCs: What will they ultimately achieve?

In a field known for glacial change, MOOCs have landed like a meteorite in higher education.

In 15 years of teaching, University of Pennsylvania classicist Peter Struck has guided perhaps a few hundred students annually in his classes on Greek and Roman mythology through the works of Homer, Sophocles, Aeschylus, and others—”the oldest strands of our cultural DNA.”

But if you gathered all of those tuition-paying, in-person students together, the group would pale in size compared with the 54,000 from around the world who, this fall alone, are taking his class online for free—a “Massive Open Online Course,” or MOOC, offered through a company called Coursera.

Reaching that broader audience of eager learners—seeing students in Brazil and Thailand wrestle online with texts dating back millennia—is thrilling. But he’s not prepared to say they’re getting the same educational experience.…Read More

Top higher-education technology news: September 2012

Here are some of the top higher-education technology stories in the September 2012 edition of eCampus News.

Several leading universities have joined the open course movement in what is quickly becoming a campus revolution; for-profit colleges, which include some of the country’s largest online schools, face even more scrutiny; and a popular online video forecasts the end of higher education as we know it: These are among the top stories in the September edition of eCampus News.

Our September edition is now available in digital format on our website. You can browse the full publication here, or click on any of the headlines below to read these highlights:

Top schools join the free online course movement…Read More

Instruction for masses knocks down campus walls

The pitch for the online course sounds like a late-night television ad, or maybe a subway poster: “Learn programming in seven weeks starting Feb. 20. We’ll teach you enough about computer science that you can build a Web search engine like Google or Yahoo,” the New York Times reports. But this course, Building a Search Engine, is taught by two prominent computer scientists, Sebastian Thrun, a Stanford research professor and Google fellow, and David Evans, a professor on leave from the University of Virginia. The big names have been a big draw. Since Udacity, the for-profit startup running the course, opened registration on Jan. 23, more than 90,000 students have enrolled in the search-engine course and another taught by Mr. Thrun, who led the development of Google’s self-driving car. Welcome to the brave new world of Massive Open Online Courses—known as MOOCs—a tool for democratizing higher education…

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…Read More