Massive Open Online Courses have recently become a big deal in society. These are free online course available to anyone who wishes to gain knowledge about a particular topic. There’s even a certificate of excellence for completing these courses. Although this may seem like the same thing as an online course, you cannot earn college credit through these courses. This can change higher education by reducing the cost for students making it much more affordable to go to school thus increasing the percentage of students who graduate from universities. They even offer the same flexibility as most universities in terms of classes. According to Finder (2013), “You can audit a course — meaning you don’t take exams or do writing assignments — or you can fulfill all of the requirements to earn a certificate of completion (P. 1).” This goes to show why people would be taking advantage of the opportunity to take a free course with the option to opt out of it if it’s too challenging without any consequences. Many universities have already taken part in this phenomenon such as the University of California, University of Texas, and Georgetown etc. with this; they offer specific courses for a specific time frame with readings, homework, and videos almost like it is a real class. This goes to show how popular MOOCs are becoming nationwide. One example of a MOOC is a technology company called Coursera which has already partnered up with several universities and hopes to link up other companies with the students that take part in the online courses offered by Coursera in order to gain some sort of profit in the future.
Although it may seem like MOOCs are the best thing that has happened to education within the last decade, there are still some flaws in it such as taking away the students interaction and interpersonal skills. According to Fowler (2013) “Staring at a screen makes some students feel isolated and disengaged, which can lead to poor performance or dropping out altogether (P. 1).” This was stated as a fact by the author of an article called An Early Report Card on Massive Open Online Courses where he talks about how it is way too early to be putting our trust in these MOOCs when there are as many flaws within the system as stated. The main argument lies within communication skills between students. The lack of face to face communication is the main reason why online education can never replace college. Statistics show that students who take part in discussions and group activities perform much better than those who just simply answer questions for a few hours. Another downside to MOOCs is the inconvenience for professors in universities. Because of the online style of MOOCs, professors will be forced to change their style of teaching into a video format. According to Newsome (2013) “How does a professor interact with tens of thousands of students? How do students collaborate with classmates thousands of miles away? How do professors evaluate whether students learned the material? How do you prevent cheating? How does anyone make any money on this? These are some of the questions that critics raise (P. 1)”. These were the issues raised by the author in his article MOOCs: Online courses might change face of higher education where he lists the pros and cons towards implementing MOOCs into our system. These inconveniences would place a lot of pressure on the professors teaching the classes and may provide too much flexibility to the students taking part in that course. With this level of difficulty for professors and the classroom environment , it will be tough for MOOCs to truly replicate what we have recognized at as a true college environment.
Finder, A. (2013, September 25). A Surge in Growth for a New Kind of Online Course – NYTimes.com.
Fowler, G. A. (2013, October 8). An early report card on MOOCs – WSJ.com.
Newsom, J. (2013, October 14). MOOCs: Online courses might change face of higher education – News-Record.com: