By Carl Straumsheim
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology will next year launch the first of what could be several pilots to determine if pieces of what it has provided face-to-face can be delivered through massive open online courses.
The institute on Wednesday announced an alternative path for students to enroll in its supply chain management program and earn a master’s of engineering in logistics degree. Instead of students being required to move to Cambridge, Mass., for the duration of the 10-month program, MIT will offer half of the program through MOOCs, saving students tens of thousands of dollars in tuition.
Learners who complete the MOOCs but can’t afford or simply aren’t interested in finishing the degree won’t walk away empty-handed. MIT will offer those learners a new microcredential, called a MicroMaster’s, and is working with other organizations that offer supply chain management programs to ensure they will accept the credential toward degree completion.
MIT has for years expressed an interest in using MOOCs and other technologies to cut down on the time students spend on campus. In a 2013 report on the future of MIT, a task force urged the institute to explore new models of education and “take advantage of … disruptions rather than ignoring them.”
In an interview Wednesday with Inside Higher Ed, MIT President L. Rafael Reif echoed that conclusion. “I’d rather we disrupt ourselves than be disrupted by somebody else,” he said.
By letting students complete their first semester through MOOCs, MIT is effectively offering a “try before you buy” promotion. The institute calls this inverted admissions — taking courses and then applying, as opposed to the traditional other way around.
[ Full article available at Inside Higher Ed: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/10/08/massachusetts-institute-technology-launch-half-mooc-half-person-masters-degree ]