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Harvard plans to boldly go with ‘Spocs’

24 Sep

Online courses have attracted millions. Now they are experimenting with limiting numbers.

By Sean Coughlan, BBC News education correspondent

Keep up, keep up. If you’ve only just caught on to the concept of online university courses called Moocs, then you’re in danger of falling behind again.

Harvard, one of the world’s most influential universities, is moving on to Spocs – which stands for small private online courses. Nothing to do with Star Trek and sombre Vulcans, but plenty to do with ambitions “to boldly go”.

And could these be the real deal? The academic chairing Harvard’s online experiments says we are already “post-Mooc”.

Moocs – massive open online courses – have been something of a hurricane in universities, making a lot of noise and promising to rip everything up.

Pioneered by some of the most prestigious US universities, they have been re-packaging course units into online lessons and making them available to anyone with an internet connection.

But it’s still not clear whether this is a passing storm or something that will fundamentally change how higher education is delivered.

Last week the UK joined the fray, with more than 20 universities launching an online platform called FutureLearn, which will challenge the dominant players on the east and west US coasts.

[ Full article available at BBC News: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-24166247 ]

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Posted by on September 24, 2013 in MOOCs in the News

 

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