Assessing the MOOC Landscape: Two Perspectives on Today's Most Talked about Education Format

By Barrod, James C.; Goldstein, Michael et al. | University Business, April 2013 | Go to article overview

Assessing the MOOC Landscape: Two Perspectives on Today's Most Talked about Education Format


Barrod, James C., Goldstein, Michael, Ferenbach, Greg, University Business


Massive, Open, Online--and Personalized

James C. Barrood

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

It's one of modern cinema's most familiar and resonant moments: the scene in Good Will Hunting where Matt Damon's character humiliates a Harvard student, contending that the Ivy Leaguer blew $150,000 to learn less than Will could learn with a library card.

Will Hunting might have been thrilled with the massive, internet-driven disruption that's coming to higher education, trailing the carnage it has left in industries like music and print publishing. With hundreds of MOOCs taught by top professors from great universities, the price of content and theory is plummeting towards "free." Not even a library card is needed.

In my own academic field of entrepreneurship, dynamic experiential opportunities offered by accelerators, incubators, maker/ coworking spaces, and community meet-ups may enable students to bypass a degree--saving a fortune and getting a multiple-year head start on building their companies.

If you're the next "Will Hunting," what could be better? With the proliferation of high-quality, for-credit MOOCs, why not "home college"? Why not take at least your first- and second-year courses online, and then (if you desire) transfer into a four-year school?

There's a catch, of course. Not everyone is Will Hunting. Nor is everyone prepared. Or focused. Or resilient.

Can these technologies be made to work for the full spectrum of students who actually exist? Including millions already at risk of failure due to insufficient support?

Perhaps. But colleges will need to create far more customized paths for each student, course, and program. They'll have to experiment rapidly and extensively--and learn quickly from their experiments. Most of all, they'll have to double-down on the issues of motivation and remediation they're already struggling with.

There isn't much time--especially for weaker institutions. Even community colleges, which have seen increased enrollment from budget-conscious freshmen who'll eventually transfer to four-year schools, will face "bottom-up" disruption from online alternatives.

Many students may find themselves in the middle, desiring a looser (and less costly) relationship with an academic institution, but a richer experience than today's MOOCs offer. One can envision online courses supplemented by community and experiential activities to more closely resemble a campus environment.

Making Stronger Connections

Imagine supplemental video chats, virtual book clubs/discussions, and especially meet-ups at local campuses, libraries, or community centers--crucial to overcome the isolation and "digital cocooning" that are major risks of the online education revolution.

Stronger connections can also be embedded into online platforms and syllabi. Tools might gently and creatively nudge students from the very outset, so they're less likely to fall behind. In-lecture checks (such as Coursera has) can improve retention by checking knowledge after every small chunk of content; grades might be partly based on timely completion of these brief, ongoing quizzes.

Teaching at large-scale, committed instructors in many fields can gain a deeper understanding of which explanations work best, and may be able to evolve classes that are demonstrably more effective.

On the human side, institutions can integrate elements of advising, concierge, and social work to keep students on task, and ensure access to the right resources. New e-tools could help advisors deliver more and timelier individualized guidance. Such tools might draw on technologies like those now used by Narrative Science and Automated Insights to generate automated newspaper articles.

Some potential problems of online education may prove easy to solve. For example, if the best lecturers develop audiences of millions, they might crowd out other voices.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Assessing the MOOC Landscape: Two Perspectives on Today's Most Talked about Education Format
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.