By Lawrence Biemiller
In the second of a series of papers challenging optimistic assumptions about massive open online courses, a coalition of faculty-advocacy organizations asserts that online instruction “isn’t saving money—and may actually be costing students and colleges more,” but that “snappy slogans, massive amounts of corporate money, and a great deal of wishful thinking have created a bandwagon mentality that is hard to resist.”
The paper, “The ‘Promises’ of Online Higher Education: Reducing Costs,” was released by the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education, whose backers include a number of faculty unions. Drawing on news articles and public-opinion surveys, it says that while the business model supporting MOOCs is “still a work in progress,” the trend is to offer courses free but charge for “a degree or a certificate or anything from the MOOC that carries real value.”
Merely having taken one of the courses, the paper says, is “virtually valueless in the marketplace.”
“The bottom line for students? The push for more online courses has not made higher education cheaper for them. The promise has always been that it will—but that day always seems to be in the future,” the paper says.
[ Full article available at The Chronicle of Higher Education: http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/report-by-faculty-organization-questions-savings-from-moocs/47399 ]