MOOCs Continue to Draw International Attention


In recent years, online learning has become the subject of hot debate. Some worry that it is taking away funding from traditional schools. Still others are concerned that it is taking away from the quality education only brought face to face by a teacher.

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) allow anyone to make videos teaching a certain subject, says Gary Kranz of Most videos are limited to academics, however. MOOCS work by having hundreds or even thousands of pupils sign up to online classes of study which go at their own pace. These classes usually have online lessons, completing virtual graded tests and in depth participation in collaborative virtual threads.

Kranz maintains that companies can put videos up in a MOOC for their employees. Udemy, a company that sells its MOOC platform, allows companies to use its site to make customized learning videos for their employees. Depending on the company’s needs, the service is either free or a subscription fee is charged for expanded services and content.

Other benefits of MOOCs include the cost benefit, writes Jonathan Haber for MOOCs and other online courses tend to be cheaper than their traditional classroom counterparts. More people are educated at a lower cost. This helps society by educating and putting into the workforce a potentially unemployed person. It also helps those who work a job have a more flexible schedule for classes and older adults who do not feel comfortable in a traditional college setting but still want to learn.

Recently, many higher education officials from around the world met at Princeton University to discuss educational topics including MOOCs.

Daphne Koller, who is a professor of computer science at Stafford University, co-founded a company called Coursera, reports Daniel Day for Princeton University. While she conceded that employers do not agree that online certificates and diplomas do not hold as much weight as traditional schools, she pointed out that many employers see online certificates as a “signaling mechanism”, showing that the student is dedicated and educated. Day writes:

“Koller said she expects a faster and broader adoption of online education in countries other than the United States that would “leapfrog” the U.S. by establishing better digital networks. She told the story of a woman in Bangladesh who changed her and six other women’s lives after immersing herself in MOOCs to learn business skills.”

However, not everyone agrees with Koller’s point of view on MOOCs. According to Day, Gideon Rosen, a professor of philosophy at Stanford University, fears that universities will be lured into online courses as a way to cut costs. He is concerned that this will lower the quality of education by taking away the student and teacher interaction.

04 21, 2014
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