Are massive open online classes still the wave of the future?
With a steady stream of news that the price of college is quickly becoming too high for many Americans to afford, an alternative form of higher education may be how some future students learn. MOOC, or massive open online classes, offer free lectures and web based courses by some of the world’s best universities.
But according to NPR.com, MOOCs popularity never really took off. Because the courses are free and open to anyone with an internet connection, many believed that this type of offering would soon be the death of college.
Not so, or at least not yet.
According to a paper produced by Harvard and MIT for MOOC courses that both institutions offer, more than one million participants entered a HarvardX or MITx course between 2012 and 2014.
While those numbers may seem high, it is important to remember that each course is free, though participants may choose to purchase a certificate of completion at the end.
The paper also found that nearly 40 percent of those surveyed who took one of the MOOC courses had a teaching background.
Overall, the study showed that MOOC is growing at a steady pace but not enough to pose a serious or significant threat to brick and mortar institutions.
That doesn’t mean that these free courses will soon be de-funded or that they will go away, this simply shows that it needs more time to cultivate and to figure out its appeal.
MOOC may still represent a new wave of how students will digest education in the future. Free may be good but quality has to be attached to it. As long as institutions that offer MOOC continue to give valued information through these courses, our future workforce and economy may be better because of it.