May 30, 2013

Trends in Massive Open Online Courses [Infographic]

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.

What Exactly Is A MOOC? 

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.

Where It All Started
The origin of the MOOC can be traced back to 2002, when MIT began a project to put all the educational material for all their classes online. The OpenCourseWare (OCW) initiative was free to participants, but did not include interaction with instructors, nor any sort of certification of completion. The initiative was followed by similar programs at Yale, the University of Michigan, and the University of California Berkeley.

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.

Trends in adoption of MOOCs

Trends in adoption of MOOCs – Infographic


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About The Contributor:
Bob NilssonDirector of Vertical Solutions Marketing

Bob Nilsson is the director of vertical solutions marketing at Extreme Networks. In this role, Mr. Nilsson leads the Extreme Networks strategy and programs for vertical markets including Healthcare, Higher Education, K-12 Education, Federal Government, and Hospitality. He has over 30 years of experience in marketing IT systems to Global 1000 companies worldwide. Before joining Extreme Networks Bob was VP Marketing at Clear Methods. Prior to that Bob held senior marketing positions at Digital Equipment and HP. Bob holds an SB degree in EE from MIT and MBA from Columbia Business School.

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