Sunday, March 24, 2013

MOOCS: Massive Open Online Courses

MOOCS have become increasingly popular over the years.  I think these courses resemble flipped instruction in the way that they are lectures online.  The students can access them whenever they want and can watch the lecture numerous times so they can understand the material.  This can be extremely helpful for some students.  There can be as many as 15,000 students enrolled in one class learning from one teacher.  They may be able to contact each other and help each other with the material.  To me, Khan Academy is similar to MOOCS also, except that it is not a class.  It provides students with videos that run through examples in many classes in science and math.  Also, MOOCS=$FREE.  How can any college student go wrong with that?  With the rising costs of college tuition, students look for any way to get anything for free.  I know I would take a MOOC, if they actually counted for college credit.  I believe some college students will enroll in MOOCS in addition to their paid college courses for more help.

I do have some concerns with MOOCS though and student/teacher interaction is one of them.  If there is a classroom of 15,000 students how is one teacher supposed to help all of them if they all have a question?  Your inbox would be overflowing with emails and I would not know where to start.  Maybe I have some more to research on MOOCS, but I think that student/teacher interaction would be difficult.  Another concern is that MOOCS are not accepted at many places for college credit since they are free.  One could essentially learn all the same material as a student who paid for school, but they do not officially have a degree since they did not pay for it.

MOOCS take a tremendous amount of time to prepare, as many as 100 hours of hard work before the semester starts.  These hours are unpaid since they are not paid for by students, unless the teacher  is doing it as a side job.  I think it is great that teachers want to provide college students with a free education and I would definitely do that if I was still able to support my family.  I think education could solve this if they just made college tuition cheaper.  I believe this would give students a better opportunity to enter college, and they could integrate MOOCS in some way.  If anyone has any ideas I think it would be worth exploring.

All in all I think MOOCS are a great idea.  It is just that universities do not necessarily accept them for credit since they were not paid for.  We are in a rapidly changing time for education and a free education is something students want.  Will we ever have a free college education? Maybe?