The New York Times dubbed 2012 “the year of the MOOC”. 2013 brought about much change to the original MOOC concept, along with some surprising results. What can we expect in 2014?
Certainly, we can expect to see growth in course offerings and perhaps even new or emerging MOOC providers.
Three hot trends for 2014 are:
- MOOCs Offering Credits: Georgia Tech has taken the ambitious step of offering credit for its Online Masters in Computer Science. Other universities are considering doing the same.
- Public MOOCs from the Corporate Sector: Companies have been using MOOCs for internal training, but there is a new trend in companies offering free training for current or potential customers via MOOC platforms. MongoDB University, OpenSAP, and Udacity have already partnered with corporations, offering public courses facilitated by Autodesk, Nvidia and Google experts.
- Broader MOOC Creation Opportunities: So far, the MOOC teaching opportunity has been “invite-only” to established institutions and professors. New platforms will broaden these opportunities, including MOOC.org (EdX and Google’s collaborative MOOC authorship platform), and OpenLearning.
The overarching goals of MOOCs are to lower tuition costs and improve access to higher education for the underprivileged. Currently, this is merely a promise, as studies show mixed results. Of note is a fact recently uncovered in a University of Pennsylvania study showing that the most MOOC- enrolled students already hold college degrees and are taking the courses for job advancement, upending the notion that MOOCs provide broader access to the world’s educationally underprivileged. This is not a US-only pattern. In Brazil, China, India, Russia, and South Africa where MOOCs are popular, 80 percent of MOOC students come from the wealthiest, most well educated 6 percent of the population.
Cathy Sandeen, vice president for education attainment and innovation at the American Council on Education, said “There is a place for MOOCs in terms of degree attainment, but it’s probably a smaller component overall than we might have originally thought.”
No doubt about it…MOOCs are here to stay. What remains to be seen is how they will integrate into a comprehensive educational program for the majority of students who have access to high speed internet.