By Charlie Tyson
WASHINGTON — Minutes into a State Department-backed presentation on online courses, department officials tried to load and play a short video about the merits of MOOCs. The sound system seemed to be out, and the video wasn’t streaming properly. One panelist experimented, holding a microphone to the central computer.
“Sorry for the technical difficulties,” a State Department official said.
The lesson seems irresistible: technology yields rich possibilities, but also unforeseen complications.
MOOCs have become one of the United States’ major educational exports. In the first year of MOOCs offered by Harvard and MIT through the online education site edX, two-thirds of the enrollees hailed from outside North America.
Now, some online education advocates argue that MOOCs can lure international students to colleges and universities in the U.S. The University of Pennsylvania has developed a MOOC precisely for this purpose: a course titled “Applying to U.S. Universities.” And the State Department has woven online courses into its international education agenda, with the hope that MOOC-driven outreach programs will entice foreign students to study in the U.S.
At a panel held here Tuesday, a Penn administrator and State Department officials advised U.S. higher education leaders on how colleges and universities could use MOOCs to recruit international students.
Many institutions would like to boost international enrollment. International students, ineligible for many forms of financial aid, frequently pay sticker-price tuition. They also enrich campuses by bringing with them knowledge of different languages, cultures, histories and landscapes.
[ Full article available at Inside Higher Ed: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/06/25/can-moocs-lure-international-students-us-colleges-and-universities ]