Until now, I have been hesitant to share my thoughts regarding MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) – arguably the hottest topic in EdTech since EdX, and Coursera began offering “the worlds best courses online for free”. My reticence has been mostly due to difficulty envisioning how, what has been described as a “revolutionary” innovation, can develop into a sustainable delivery model.
IMHO, a good many students go to college for the express purpose of attaining a degree or certificate toward the goal of a better career. Not that they don’t value learning for learning sake, but getting a better job is the big draw. This is where I have a little trouble with how the MOOC is going to upend traditional education – accreditation, financial aid, transfer credit.
The other thing we have yet to see is a sustainable business model that makes sense. How will the cost of delivery for this model will be borne over time. Currently, several MOOCs have been funded via venture capital or foundation grants.
That being said, perhaps awarding college credit for life experience (including MOOC acquired knowledge), will provide at least part of the solution.
Beginning fall 2013, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, through their new Flexible Degree Option will begin offering four degrees and one certificate program to students who earn credit by demonstrating competencies acquired via on-the-job training, military experience, or by completing coursework on their own – including MOOCs.