Interesting article about Moocs and Higher Ed

Master’s Degree Is New Frontier of Study Online –

Next January, the Georgia Institute of Technology plans to offer a master’s degree in computer science through massive open online courses for a fraction of the on-campus cost, a first for an elite institution. If it even approaches its goal of drawing thousands of students, it could signal a change to the landscape of higher education.


Ongoing coverage of MOOCs: How good are they really?

This trend is now unstoppable – massive open online courses – or MOOCs – are constantly in the news. The angle often seems to be about whether or how or how much they will impact higher education and education in general. It’s a topic I am very interested in.

Here’s another piece of the puzzle, this time from the New York Times. In this article a reporter signs up for ten different online courses in a quest to assess from his personal experience along these dimensions:

  • Professors: B+
  • Convenience: A
  • Teacher to student interaction: D
  • Student to student interaction: B-
  • Assignments: B-
  • Overall experience: B

His telling comments about the convenience factor:

“Regardless of the convenience, you still have to carve out time for the lectures. Which is one reason the dropout rate for MOOCs is notoriously high: Coursera’s bioelectricity course, taught by a Duke professor, saw an astounding 97 percent of students fail to finish. My dropout rate was lower, but only a bit. I signed up for 11 courses, and finished 2: “Introduction to Philosophy” and “The Modern World: Global History since 1760.” (Well, to be honest, I’m not quite done with history — I’m still stuck in the 1980s.) Not coincidentally, these were two courses with lighter workloads and less jargon.” (from NYT: Grading the MOOC University)


Sage on the e-stage?

There are fascinating shifts going on in higher education today, from MOOCs to the ‘flipped classroom’. A lot of action. I think we are looking at another text-book “Innovator’s Dilemma” scenario playing out:

The established players (traditional universities), aware of a new way of delivering their offer, but seeing that it doesn’t meet the needs of their customer’s as well as the old way. And the upstarts (udemy and others), the disruptors, applying and refining the use of the technology in niche markets, eventually perfecting it to the point that they can blow by the laggards, and leave them in the dust. Textbook!

Check out today’s New York Times:

“Institutions of higher learning must move, as the historian Walter Russell Mead puts it, from a model of “time served” to a model of “stuff learned.” Because increasingly the world does not care what you know. Everything is on Google. The world only cares, and will only pay for, what you can do with what you know.” (from New York Times: The Professor’s Big Stage)