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What Problem Are ASU and EdX Solving?

23 Apr

By Matt Reed

Maybe it’s me. But I’m just not grasping the ASU/edX MOOCs-for-credit thing.

According to Carl Straumsheim’s piece in IHE, a student who enrolls in one (or more) from a specific set of MOOCs offered through edX will have the option of paying a $45 fee for identity verification, followed by a $200 per credit fee to Arizona State, to have the MOOC performance translated into academic credit by and for ASU.

Or, that same student could take an actual course, online or onsite, from a community college. It would cost less, and would have an actual instructor provide actual guidance and feedback  throughout the course. The credits would transfer anywhere, not just to ASU. Tuition at Maricopa — the community college local to Phoenix — is $84 per credit, as opposed to $200 for the MOOC. Even in the higher-tuition Northeast, we come in well below $200 per credit. And community colleges run full slates of general education courses.

Even better, taking the course with a community college offers access to online tutoring, library resources, and other student supports that have been “unbundled” from the MOOC.

ASU is pointing out that a student doesn’t need to pass through the ASU admissions process to take a MOOC. That’s true, as far as it goes, but community colleges are also open-admission, and have been for decades.

I’m just not sure which problem they think they’re solving.

To the extent that MOOCs were going to disrupt higher education, I thought the argument was that they’d undercut incumbent providers on cost. But with over 1.100 community colleges in America routinely undercutting the MOOC on cost, I don’t see it.

[ Full article available at Inside Higher Ed: https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/confessions-community-college-dean/what-problem-are-asu-and-edx-solving ]

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Posted by on April 23, 2015 in MOOCs in the News, Op-Ed

 

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