In recent years, education in many countries has become a source of constant scrutiny. Higher education in particular has raised many contentious issues as tuition and student debt levels continue to rise, institutional funding lags, and graduation rates grow stagnate. The state of education leaves many wondering what the future of education holds in store. Enter MOOCs: Massive Open Online Courses.
Online learning is revolutionizing the world of education. Online courses and education are not a particularly new innovation, however the majority of online learning has been low in quantity and quality. MOOCs are an attempt to transcend the limits of educational accessibility by providing interesting, fun, and rigorous courses from the world’s best universities, for free. Whether you are a rocket scientist or a ski bum, MOOCs provide an exciting new opportunity for personal advancement.
A quick history of MOOCs:
• The term was coined in 2008 by Dave Cormier of the University of Prince Edward Island and Senior Research Fellow Bryan Alexander of the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education
• Moocs offer the best courses from the best schools and the best professors
• Two thirds of users live abroad in places like Rwanda, China, and Brazil
• Moocs symbolize the creation of an entirely new educational system
• All of the coursework and materials are accessible (Reading materials are available online for free, no textbooks are necessary, course itself is free although you may have to pay to receive credit from the institution once completed, but you don’t have to pay simply to participate in the course)
• All work is shared between participators and facilitators
• MOOCs represent an never before seen networking opportunity – network connections are made through engaging with others in the course, both participators and facilitators
• Courses can run from 12 weeks to a full semester or can be self paced to be completed on your own time
• edX is just one example of MOOCs and is a non-profit online initiative created by founding partners Harvard and MIT
• MOOCs allow individuals in developing nations to gain access to 1st world education
By AI Blog contributor: Maggie Edmunds