The 12 Myths of MOOCs

24 May

By Dr. John Ebersole
President of Excelsior College

In a recent survey of several hundred educators, only 13 percent of schools today offer MOOCs, but 43 percent plan to offer them by 2016. So if we agree the trend is here to stay, let’s take a look at the growing mythology of Massive Open Online Courses.

1. MOOCs provide a quality learning experience.

While no one questions the quality of instruction offered by some of the finest minds in higher education, it is reasonable to question the extent of student learning from MOOCs. The great majority of participants do not complete the course they enroll in. Of the very small percentage who do, questions remain about the validity of the assessment instrument, the security of the assessment process, and, in some cases, the identity of the participant. To date, there is very little evidence of actual learning done by students who enroll in a MOOC.

2. Degree completion is the highest and best use of MOOCs.

There are several things that MOOCs do well. Unfortunately, as noted in Myth #1, the provision of a credit-worthy learning experience is still at issue. Public relations, continuing education, faculty reputation building and program marketing all appear to be better fits, at this point, for the MOOC.

3. MOOCs feature state-of-the-art instructional design.

Surprisingly, instructional design is not an element of the MOOC planning process. More often than not, instruction consists of the often distained, yet familiar, lecture that we associate with traditional instruction. This may explain why MOOC completion rates are less than 10 percent.

4. MOOCs are a recent phenomenon.

In fact, the first known MOOC was offered in 2008 as part of the Open Educational Resource movement.

[ Full article available at The Huffington Post: ]

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Posted by on May 24, 2013 in MOOCs in the News, Op-Ed


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