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Are Massive Open Online Courses Massive Opportunity or Massive Hype?

By Wayan Vota on April 19, 2013

online-education

Join us for an in-depth analysis of these questions and the overall educational impact of Massive Open Online Courses on the developing world during the MOOC Educational Technology Debate.

Stanford, Harvard, MIT, and many more top name universities are launching Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to hundreds, and hundred of thousands of students. Often prompted by entrepreneurial professors and private companies, the race is on to open up higher education to the online masses.

Yet university professors are already entering into a schizophrenic relationship with MOOCs – when polled, 79% believe MOOCs are worth the hype and yet only 28% believe students should get formal credit for them.

What is the impact of MOOCs on education in the developing world?

Do MOOCs offer massive opportunity to move past the limited physical constrains of the developing world’s universities? Could we see MOOCs break past even the online and distance education gains to become a paradigm shift in educating the youth bulge that is overwhelming formal educational structures?

Or are MOOCs just the latest fad in moving from the tried and true in-person relationship between professor and student? Do they replace in-depth analysis and learning with superficial glances at complex topics? Will MOOCs dilute the university degree even more, reducing higher education to just another certificate of perseverance instead of an indicator of intelligence?

Are MOOCs about to reach a peak of inflated expectations before dropping into a trough of disillusionment already filled with other edu-fads (like OLPC laptops)?

The discussion around these questions has already started. Here are a few of the posts so far:

What are you waiting for – jump in and share your opinion on the future of MOOCs!

 

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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks and is the Digital Health Director at IntraHealth International. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of IntraHealth International or other ICTWorks sponsors.
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