Please get up to date before writing about this topic. MOOCs in particular seem
to be losing steam this year with a number of setbacks as identified in the
Chronicle of Higher Education and other sources. Yes, online is now a part of
the landscape but MOOCs have lost lost momentum.
This could indeed by a very practical way t5o learn many things. In fact,
information and learning has been at our fingertips for a while now. It could
save money, stress, commuting, perhaps some pollution, and we could be learning
while comfortably home in our pjs. However, we would have to be our own
thoughtful watchdogs (or teachers), and monitor our progress realistically.
Also, some classes would just not work in cyberspace.
Online learning is great. But if people sign up the online course and then
dropout half way, it won't make big impact. the MIT online
course has only 5% of completion rate. I wonder how to improve that. this
article failed to mention it.
Do we value time in a college classroom or knowledge? Do we want a college a
degree to mean " I have a certain skill set or set of knowledge" or do
we want it to mean "I have spent thousands of dollars to get this paper that
says I know something, when really, I don't".
The key element to make online learning create a serious disruption would be to
have a well established way to prove that you know something and get credit that
is as good as college credit without having to pay an exorbitant amount of
money. E.g. if colleges started awarding credit not just for AP tests, but for a
certain level of performance on GRE Subjects. Or if they were required to
provide challenge exams at the very least for all freshman and sophomore
courses, ideally for all undergraduate courses. Right now you could go to sites
like Khan Academy and get yourself to the level of a college sophomore or even
junior with the cost being just your time. But there is no general way to get
credit for it. You could make arrangements with a professor to take a challenge
exam, but you are at his mercy.