Yes they are, and with the potential to redefine education. A product of the Internet revolution, MOOCS are “Massive, Open, On-line Courses” designed to reach as many students, formal and informal, as possible. Think of them as super webinars for the world, distance learning on steroids.
Universities are experimenting with them as a way to reach larger audiences, leveraging their intellectual capital on campus; and as a potential way to reduce the spiraling costs of on-campus education. Big name schools like Stanford University, Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, City University of New York, The University of Michigan, MIT, Harvard and others are developing delivery platforms with strategic partners. Even high schools are potential application areas for MOOCS.
What could this mean for the traditional bricks and mortar, red brick schoolhouses of yesteryear? Might this be a way to reduce high school costs at all levels? What could this mean for how our “kids” gain socialization through the interactions of fellow students? Certainly such questions remain to be answered, just like they did when the Internet began re-defining how business does business. Big change, gale force winds, could be coming to our education system.
Because of many potential learners at once, i.e. very high student teacher ratios, MOOCs can use several approaches for feedback and interaction; such as peer-review, group collaboration or online assessments, quizzes, and exams; and in the future there is likely to be even more ways for on-line students to interact.
Thomas Edison, a devoted and disciplined life-long learner would certainly applaud this technology. To him it would be a massive way to digest new information and keep a-pace with changing times. Remember, this was the man who thought so much about information being the key to invention/innovation/entrepreneurship that he put his business office in his library. Imagine what this great man could have done with an Internet connection! Imagine what it would be like if we could teach many kids around the world, through MOOCS, about inventing like Edison. Go MOOCS!
Editor’s Deep Dive
blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/01/ 27/irrational-exuberance-over- moocs/
Thomas Edison – Man of the Millennium – said … “I find out what the world needs. Then I go ahead and try to invent it.”
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