Speaking of MOOCs

I came across this article today.

We’re still in the infant stage of MOOCs.  From the article, at least most MOOCs are not offered for credit, so the utility for someone aiming for a degree would be to get a leg up on learning the material they would cover in a for-credit class.  But it’s easy to see administrators taking the step of using MOOCs, or perhaps a form of them, as a means of reducing headcount in order to save money.

Of course, making MOOCs for credit means less cost for students (and their parents) as well.  Speaking as someone who recently had two kids complete their education, anything that reduces cost on the consumer end is going to be popular.  That’s another aspect of the economics that we haven’t addressed yet.  With cost of a university education increasing each year, there will be pressure to reduce those costs in order to prevent a university education from becoming something only wealthy families can access.

What do you think?


  1. I take at least one on-line course every “semester”. These are great for aging people like me who want to keep exploring ideas, learn new skills, and who think of learning as part of what makes us human. Plato thought that folks could not really study philosophy until they were 30, yet for most of we are 8 years out of school by then. Online learning lets hundreds of thousands of us follow Plato’s advice. MOOCs and iTunes University are as great an advance in education as the invention of the university itself.

    1. I agree with you on their utility for us lifelong learners, Pat. I have a few Teaching Company courses on DVD that I purchased because I can always refer to them. A MOOC is great for me to just learn something and not worry about grades or GPA or taking out another mortgage to pay tuition. The problem comes in when cost-cutting administrators want to cut heads and rely more on MOOCs.

  2. Al, as someone who teaches two courses at Hofstra Law School, one with 40 students and one with 8, I know the benefit to students of live interaction with a professor. If nothing else, the terror that I might call on them keeps them reading! However, I have also sat in class with 200-plus other students for various undergrad intro courses and I see little advantage in most of them over a video.

    1. I read you, Pat.

    1. Good summary and a lot of info. Thanks, Jimmy.

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