Massive Open Online Courses: The next big thing in Education?

Thanks again, to Peter Kim for supplying this guest article.

If you haven’t already heard: MOOCs are the next big thing in education. So what are they? The acronym stands for Massive Open Online Courses. MOOCs don’t require registration or tuition fees and students can sign-up no matter where they live or what their schedules look like.  And unlike traditional college courses, there are no classroom caps. With electronic grading, professors can reach an unlimited number of students without doing more work.

The openness and scalability of MOOCs signal a refreshing change for higher education. In fact, enthusiasm for MOOCs has even spread to the nation’s most exclusive universities–MIT, Columbia and Brown now offer free coursework online. So far, MOOCs don’t satisfy formal college credit requirements, but they are used to qualify students and professionals for certification. And there are no consequences to failing a free online course. With less to lose, students of MOOCs might just more to gain.

It’s too early to tell how MOOCs will change education, but the future of open online courses is looking very good. Check out the graphic below to see why MOOCs are so important:


Academic Staff University of Glasgow and Author of Science Fiction

Posted in Guest Articles, Reflecting
2 comments on “Massive Open Online Courses: The next big thing in Education?
  1. mancyl says:

    Lee, these are some fantastic images! It definitely puts into perspective how fast the fees for education are rising in America, and how many people are unaware of it, thinking ‘because it’s education… it’s okay’. MOOCs are definitely bringing an alternative perspective for future education, the main issue with MOOCs at the moment is trying to establish legitimacy. But with any form of innovation, it will definitely endure hardship before it can reach its potential and success. Clearly, having only started in 2008, the success of it is already evident, with numerous prestigious universities signing up to offer their courses for free, for people all around the world!

  2. Lee Dunn says:

    Hi, thanks for your comment and you are absolutely right… Such a great idea – widening access and competing in a global landscape is becoming an essential component in our continuous improvement strategy… Though we still have a long way to go!

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