Are MOOCs the Future of Online Education?


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What’s at stake?: $400 billion: amount of money spent annually in U.S. on universities
The $400 billion represents: more than the annual revenues of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter combined.
Every educational institution wants a piece of that pie. MOOCs could jeopardize that.

The World Wide U
10 million: estimated number of students who have taken at least one MOOC

When it all began:
The promise of online education:
• low costs
• extreme accessibility by anyone
• customized pacing
• flexibility in scheduling
• more digitally based interactive tools

1985: Dave Cormier “coins” the term MOOC, for Massive Open Online Courses.

1993: Jones International University becomes first online U. [in the world]
1999: JIU became first fully online university in the U.S. to be accredited.
But it’s not free: tuition is $12,720
2013 enrollment (full and part time, undergrad and graduate): about 4,500

2012: Coursera founded by two Stanford professors
5.7 million: most recent enrollment, Coursera
83: number of universities and colleges around the world forming partnership with Coursera
$65 million: amount of venture capital raised to fund Coursera

Udacity (2012)
56,000: number of students who signed up for courses in Udacity two weeks after 2011 launch
1.6 million students, to date

20: number of schools partnered in Edx, an online non-profit provider started by Harvard and MIT founded in 2013

21: number of British universities partnered to start FutureLearn (2013)

Who are MOOC students?
.3 % primary school
2.8 % some secondary
9.7% completed high school
3.8% some additional training (apprentices)
43.4 undergraduate university
40.2 postgraduates

How global are MOOCs now (top 10 countries of origin):
U.S.: 28%
U.K. 11%
India: 4.6%
Brazil: 4.5%
Canada: 4%
Spain: 3.9%
Australia: 3.5%
Greece: 2.2 %
Russia: 1.9%
Germany: 1.8%

Top 10 MOOCs (free courses)
• Udemy: Courses taught by teachers at Northwestern and Dartmouth (among others)
• ITunesU – Apple’s free app “gives students access to all the materials for courses in a single place. Right in the app, they can play video or audio lectures. Read books and view presentations.”
• Stanford
• Most popular free course: Introduction to AI. 160,000 students from 190 countries..
• UC Berkeley –Check out: Berkeley Webcasts and Berkeley RSS Feeds.
• MIT Free Courses – Check out MIT’s RSS MOOC feed. Also MIT’s Open Courseware.
• Duke Free Courses – Duke offers courses on ITunesU.
• Harvard Free Courses –Get a free Harvard education. No application is required.
• UCLA Free Courses –
• Yale Free Courses –The school offers “free and open access to a selection of introductory courses taught by distinguished teachers and scholars at Yale University.”
• Carnegie Mellon Free Courses – Carnegie Mellon boasts “No instructors, no credits, no charge.”

Pros and Cons of MOOCs
• Free.
• Provide a solution to overcrowding.
• Force professors to improve lectures.
• Create a dynamic archive.
• Are designed to ensure that students keep up. MOOCS are real college courses, complete with tests and grades.
• Bring people together from all over the world.
• Allow teachers to make the most of classroom time in blended classes.
• Offer interesting business opportunities. MOOC companies launched in 2012: edX by Harvard and MIT; Coursea, a Stanford company; and Udacity, which focuses on science and tech.
• Low graduation rate: estimated at about 10%
• Easier for students to drop out
• Do not offer much support for struggling students?
• Interactivity, a challenge. [When you have…150,000 students]
• Grading papers is impossible.
• Overcrowding
• Miss the magic of human interaction (in small groups)
• Will shrink faculties, eventually eliminating them.

And now…. something new in 2013 (an alternative to MOOCs):
SPOCs: Small Private Online Courses
• New B-to-B concept: create an online course and license it to a university or an organization or corporation.
• Colorado State Global Campus, first to offer SPOCs as an experiment
• SPOCs have 17-25 students