MOOCs – Hype or adding value?

For as much hype there has been over the past two years regarding MOOCs, it appears that they are failing to get traction and they are on the decline while online learning is growing.  One of the biggest cheerleaders of MOOCs, Google and Stanford’s Sebastian Thrun, has admitted that his Udacity courses often offer a “lousy product.”  A new report by the Babson Survey Research Group concludes that MOOCs are not sustainable for institutions and will cause confusion about higher-education degrees. The survey was conducted by Babson and the Sloan Consortium and it surveyed chief academic officers at 2,831 institutions.

  •  Only 3% of the institutions are currently offering MOOCs
  • In 2012 26%, and now in 2013 39%, do not believe that MOOCs are sustainable
  • MOOCs made no significant in-roads in the past year in the existing credentialing system thereby calling into question their disruptive nature

At the same time, conventional online courses are more popular than ever

  • More than one-third of students took at least one online course in 2013
  • Although growing more slowly than in recent years, it is predicted that within five years more than half of college students will be taking at least one course online.

There is bound to be some paradox akin 2 sides of the coin. While on one end MOOC’s could be the greatest equalisers, academicians are quick to tone it down indicating that someone has to curate the curriculum ensuring its alignment with specific learning outcomes.  One thing is for sure that MOOC’s are here to stay and we should see a lowering of costs for all kind of courses being offered on a large scale.