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
Rathi KrishnanRathi Krishnan has an MA in Comparative Literature from Bangalore University, India, another MA in English from Cal State University, Long Beach, as well as doctoral coursework in English from University of California, Riverside, before she dropped out, and began to ponder on the meaning of education, education that is self-taught versus formal education. She has taught at several California community colleges, Cal State University, Long Beach, NYU, several online universities, and is currently a full time professor at Kaplan University. Her quest is to provide quality education to her students, as well as to contemplate the bigger picture of what education entails and affords for each one of us in our quest for self-discovery and in fulfillment of our goals, dreams, and ambitions. She lives in the San Francisco, Bay Area and as online teaching allows her to travel widely, considers herself to be a resident of “nowhere” and a denizen of “everywhere,” a state made possible in this internet era.

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