Embrace of massive online courses rising

06 May

Institution president warns of limitations

By Ben Wolfgang – The Washington Times

Massive open online courses are sweeping the globe, but some higher education leaders argue that the classes, better known as MOOCs, need to be embraced cautiously.

“I don’t hate them at all, but I do see the limitations of them,” said John Ebersole, president of Excelsior College, a nonprofit, 37,000-student institution headquartered in an Albany, N.Y., business park.

Mr. Ebersole talked about the need for less federal regulation over his sector and about the changing face of the American college student. Excelsior’s average student, for example, is 39 years old.

As higher education continues to evolve and online studies become more popular, MOOCs increasingly are held up as a revolutionary step forward. The concept is simple: a highly qualified professor offers an online “class,” for free, to anyone willing to listen. The system allows students from around the globe to learn from renowned academics, who in turn are able to reach many more people than could fit inside a traditional classroom.

Mr. Ebersole said that he sees the benefits of such an approach, but also the drawbacks. For starters, the vast majority of those who sign up for a MOOC don’t finish it.

“There’s something wrong with the system when you only have 3 percent who finish,” he said, adding that he believes his estimate is much closer to reality than the 10 percent completion figures often thrown around publicly by MOOC advocates.

Full article available at The Washington Times: ]

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Posted by on May 6, 2013 in MOOCs in the News


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