The New York Times believes we are in “The Year of the MOOC“. To find out what this means and where it may be headed, Enterasys conducted a survey on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), including trends and adoption rates. The survey found that, while this style of teaching still has some drawbacks, it is here to stay. In fact, according to a sizable minority, MOOCs may ultimately replace traditional residential college courses.
Beyond the obvious that MOOCs are courses that are available online, open and free, for massive/wide audiences; it is also important that they are collaborative. That is, students take them together, share their assignments through online forums and study groups, and often evaluate each others’ work. MOOC course material tends to be distributed across the Internet; in different blogs, research sites, discussion boards, and on-line repositories. Typically, MOOCs do not offer course credit, although this is changing. In this respect, MOOCs differ from traditional online courses, which do offer course credit, have limited class sizes and tend to be expensive.
Ten years later in 2012, MIT, along with Harvard University launched edX. The edX collaboration took the concept of open courseware a level further, offering interaction, and in some cases, degree certification. Students could now exchange ideas with each other and with teachers, as well as collaborate on assignments.
The Benefits of MOOCs
When they introduced OCW, MIT cited their mission as the reason for the initiative: “to build a web of knowledge to enhance human learning worldwide.” They also believed the courseware could provide a preview to students who were interested in taking residential classes, as well as a review for students who had already attended classes on campus.
Several additional important benefits have been realized as MOOCs have grown and matured. The courses bring worldwide recognition to the participating educators and draw attention to the intangibles that are only available on campus. For the participating instructors, MOOCs provide a valuable means for developing and improving the courses themselves through a crowd-sourcing approach.
According to the Enterasys survey, 44% of respondents find that keeping up with developments in education is the greatest value of MOOCs. Raising the visibility of the school is a major benefit for 35%, and 15% report that improving the quality of their residential teaching is the most important MOOC benefit.
Today, MOOCs may not be appropriate for all schools. The survey found that 72% believe continuing education courses are the best fit. Technical training was determined to be a good fit by 54% and indeed Enterasys as a part of its mission in higher education has announced that it will be offering MOOCs to teach IP data networking, wireless technologies and security concepts.
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<div style=”width: 720px”> <a href=”http://blogs.enterasys.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/2013-05-19-5060MOOCInfographic_v2.jpg” /> <img src=http://blogs.enterasys.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/2013-05-19-5060MOOCInfographic_v2.jpg” alt=”Trends in adoption of MOOC Infographic” /></a><br/> Infographic authored by <a href=”http://www.enterasys.com/”>Enterasys Networks</a>. To view the original post, see the original <a href=”http://blogs.enterasys.com/trends-in-massive-open-online-courses-infographic/”>Trends in adoption of MOOC Infographic</a>.</div>