The future of the university with MOOCs: It’s all about the individual

January 28, 2013 at 1:18 am 6 comments

Interesting piece in Inside HigherEd which argues that the real impact of MOOCs on the University is to get the University out of the business of engaging students and working to improve completion, retention, and graduation rates.  Nobody gets into the University until proven by MOOC.  And since so few people complete the MOOCs, the percentage of the population with degrees may plummet.

Constructing this future will take some time, but not much time.  It only requires the adaptation of various existing mechanisms for providing proctored exams worldwide and a revenue and expense model that allows all the providers (university and faculty content providers, MOOC middleware providers, and quality control providers) to establish profitable fee structures.  In this model, the risk and cost of student engagement is borne by the students alone.  The university assumes no responsibility for student success other than identifying quality courses.  The MOOC middleware companies create and offer the content through sophisticated Internet platforms available to everyone but make no representations about the likelihood of student achievement.  Indeed, many student participants may seek only participation not completion. The quality control enterprise operates on a fee-for-service basis that operates without much concern for the number of students that pass or fail the various proctored tests of content acquisition, and many participants in MOOC activities may not want to engage the quality control system.

via MOOCs and the Future of the University | Inside Higher Ed.

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. p2e  |  January 28, 2013 at 11:10 am

    The title of this blog post sparked some excitement in me. I’ve long thought that a benefit from online learning (via MOOCs or other avenues) is that it allows for a focus on the individual. By that I mean having the ability to tailor the delivery of content to the individual.

    My SLAC has small class sizes so I can try to meet the individual needs of my students to allow course content to resonate with them more intimately. But, it’s so difficult even with more than a few students. With classes of 20+ or in the 100’s of students it’s just about impossible.

    In an online venue, it’s possible to reach tens of thousands and web technologies clearly support the ability to provide a unique experience for individuals. I wonder why I haven’t seen any steps in this direction. From the outset, the benefit of MOOC-style education (to me) seemed to be: 1) incredible reach; and 2) the ability to deliver a personalized learning experience. I’ve seen plenty of evidence of (1) but nothing working towards (2) in these MOOCs and that baffles me.

  • 2. mgozaydinMuvaffak GOZAYDIN  |  January 28, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    There are good MOOCs ,
    there are bad MOOcs .
    Be careful.
    Good MOOcs are non profit, from elite universities .
    They will not be massive when they start providing degrees .
    They will have a small fee.

    Fee can be maximum $ 100 minimum $ 10 depending upon the size of the enrollments .
    If enrollment is 1,000 students for 10 semester and fee is $ 100 then in 10 semester 1,000 x 10 x $100 = $ 1,000,000 collected
    No course is more than $ 1 million . So $ 100 fee is a last resort .

    Software industry is developing very fast . Shortly there will be also individualised online courses .
    One method
    1. Content for slow learners
    2.- Content for normals
    3.- Contents for fast learners .

    Another method
    1.- People who can learn from video faster and better
    2.- People who learn from text fast and better
    3.- People who learn from animations and simulation faster and better.
    All these are possible

    MIT Harvard are experimenting now ” how people learn ” from the courses they are providing. Their target is 1 BILLION enrollment. With that data they can learn a lot .

    MIT and Harvard are doing so much research on online learning MOOCs will be better every day . Therefore normal schools will be closed slowly within 5 years .

    • 3. Bob  |  January 31, 2013 at 5:24 pm

      I don’t understand why organization and universities are struggling with the monetization of MOOCs you seem to have it worked out. Don’t forget your $1,000,000 needs to cover the cost of infrastructue and those expensive professors

  • 4. Erik Engbrecht  |  January 28, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    Ok, I think the article is a bit over-the-top, but it triggered some ideas. Most of which probably aren’t new. But they’re new to me!

    Three major problems I think universities face are:
    1. Incoming students are inadequately prepared for university study
    2. Incoming students have extreme difficulty predicting what they will ultimately end up studying
    3. Incoming students in certain majors, CS being a great example, did not have access to the relevant structured educational opportunities required to prepare them

    High schools also face some major problems:
    1. It is not economically feasible to offer classes that are either too advanced or too esoteric to achieve sufficient enrollment
    2. Finding teachers qualified to teach many subjects, such as CS, is extremely difficult, especially given the pay differentials between teaching and commercial employment

    Now imagine classes structured as follows:
    1. The MOOC supplier provides course content and online examinations
    2. The High School provides brick-and-mortar facilities to host the MOOCs
    3. The High School pays the fees for taking the MOOCs
    4. The High School provides a structured environment, including proctoring and course credit captured in official records
    5. A partnership between the MOOC supplier and the High School provides the technology infrastructure required to support the MOOCs within the brick-and-mortar facility

    Now the High School can offer low-demand classes as long as there is an appropriate MOOC to supplier the material and grading. Furthermore, universities can provide guidance as to the MOOCs that should be taken prior to admittance, especially for majors where High School preparation is often woefully inadequate.

    I’m certain there are important pedagogical issues that such an arrangement would create. I also suspect that wealthier districts would achieve greater benefits than poorer ones, thus increasing disparity even if in aggregate all benefit. But on the surface it seems like an economically viable and beneficial arrangement for all involved.

    • 5. mgozaydinMuvaffak GOZAYDIN  |  January 29, 2013 at 6:53 am

      To me MOOC is a negative word. It is not massive, it is not free but only online by elite schools now . Therefore I call it

      Yes good idea . Let highschools also benefit from EL-ON courses .
      Even Elite schools can develop special couırses for High schools .

      Do not worry, fee will not be high if there are enough high schools participating in the program .

  • 6. ablee  |  February 27, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    Reblogged this on iAMSTEM HUB . UC DAVIS.


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