The Massive Growth Spurt in MOOCS: Do They Signal a Promising Trend in Higher Education?

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Session Description
The new phenomenon of MOOCS is promising to revitalize the educational landscape, shake up the key players, and reform higher education. MOOCS are a recent development in distance education and are known as Massive Open Online Course( s). They originated in 2008 with the Open Education Resources Movement ( OER) ( Open Educational Resource, Hewlett Foundation) and are courses offering lectures by world class professors with videos, quizzes, learning material, etc., now being offered by elite institutions like Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, etc., which provide free access and offer certificates of completion, but typically do not offer academic credit, or charge tuition fees. MOOCs signal a trend in the application of “connectivism” which emphasizes learning taking place in a social and cultural context with the infusion of work /life experience
(Downes, 2011).

This interactive presentation will discuss the challenges and opportunities that MOOCs present to “for-profit education.” Is self-paced learning truly successful? What is the success rate for students registered in such courses? Do MOOCs signal a trend in higher education away from degree programs requiring students to pay tuition, to the accessibility of free resources that provide proof of completion and mastery of content as being the requisite outcome necessary in today’s workplace? Will the greater transparency provided by the web, lead to greater accountability of individuals, organizations, and business practices? If the human race is to survive and thrive, accountability needs to infuse every human endeavor–from that of the individual, to nations, and to the world, at large.

Richard Pérez-Peña (July 17, 2012). “Top universities test the online appeal of free”. The New York Times. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
Horacio Reyes. “History of a revolution in e-learning”. Revista Educacion Virtual. Retrieved Aug 10, 2012.
Downes, Stephen “‘Connectivism’ and Connective Knowledge”, Huffpost Education, January 5, 2011, accessed July 27, 2011
^ Kop, Rita “The challenges to connectivist learning on open online networks: Learning experiences during a massive open online course”, International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, Volume 12, Number 3, 2011, accessed November 22nd, 2011
“Open Educational Resources”. The William and Flora Hewlitt Foundation. Retrieved 27 March 2013.

Rathi Krishnan, Kaplan University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA

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