By Adeline Koh
The latest thing that has everyone buzzing in higher education are MOOCs—Massively Open Online Courses. MOOC companies like Coursera, Udacity and Harvard edX courses offer free content to anyone, anywhere, and at any time. MOOCs have been criticized on many counts: for being an ineffective mode of instruction; for their high attrition rates; and their problematic handling assessment. Yet its supporters claim that MOOCs are an important intervention into the skyrocketing rates of college tuition, and champion the ability of MOOCs to offer much-needed instruction to impoverished people around the world. MOOCs have also thus far been limited to elite institutions. Bringing things to a head is San Jose State University’s controversial move to offer college credit for MOOC classes, which has fanned fears of a growing turn by state institutions to use MOOCs instead of regular classes. Its detractors fear that MOOCs will lead to the future unemployment of faculty at non-elite colleges and universities, leaving face to face education to be the privileged preserve of the elite.
[ Full article available at The Chronicle of Higher Education: http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/weekend-reading-the-mooc-catchup-edition/50111 ]