By M.O. Thirunarayanan
To the Editor:
Since 2012 many people have expressed the opinion that MOOCs will, or have the potential to, change higher education. However, before MOOCs begin transforming the manner in which higher education operates in the United States, there are at least a few current educational policies and practices that will hinder the advancement of MOOCs.
Course-credit-hour equivalency: Universities and colleges typically offer courses that are for the most part equivalent to three credit-hours. Some courses that include laboratory work are considered to be worth four credit-hours. The duration and completion times for MOOCs are not the same for all MOOCs. Before college or university credit is offered for coursework completed in a MOOC, higher-education institutions will have to determine the credit-hour equivalencies for MOOCs. Each MOOC will have to be critically evaluated by a national group that is respected by all institutions of higher education. Otherwise different course-equivalency credit-hours could be offered by different colleges and universities, leaving students to shop around for the best offer of course-credit equivalency.
Qualifications of the instructors: All MOOC instructors may not have the qualifications needed to offer a course that will be recognized by colleges and universities. Some instructors may be experts in their fields, but may not have earned terminal degrees in their fields. When a faculty member in an accredited university teaches a course, regional accreditation bodies expect colleges and universities to ensure that the faculty members are qualified to teach the courses. Because not all instructors are likely to be highly qualified, course credits for the MOOCs offered under the auspices of private, unaccredited educational institutions may not be accepted by regionally accredited colleges and universities.
[ Full article available at The Chronicle of Higher Education: http://chronicle.com/blogs/letters/moocs-glorified-online-correspondence-courses/ ]