“California State U. Will Experiment With Offering Credit for MOOCs” (http://chronicle.com/article/California-State-U-Will/136677/?cid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en) was a headline I read today, actually one of many similar headlines. For those of you who do not know, MOOC stands for “massive open online courses”; and I need to say I am bothered by the word experiment in this case.
Personally, I am not a fan of being a guinea pig of any kind, and since we are dealing with students’ futures, I suspect there are some students who are also worried about being ‘experimented‘ on. I have written about the idea of collaboration before, so the question here is why the public and private institutions not working together on this kind of ‘experiment’? These continued divisions and ideas of “going at it alone” continue to create fractions in the higher education community.
The comments about these articles are already… how can I say…interesting, for example:
· “Don't look now but a regionally accredited set of schools is turning to a for profit course offering entity for courses...
Can open, worms everywhere!”
· “Does anyone know how institutions involved with MOOC's are addressing the need to verify the identity of remote students?”
· “Sorry, until they realize that there is a problem there, I won't take them seriously.”
And the list goes on.
Online courses have been around for decades at this point, they have proved themselves nicely, and quite frankly there are many people today who would not have been able to complete a degree without them. No, I am not saying they will replace ‘traditional’ course formats, but this delivery method is here to stay. California has been going through a budget crisis in higher education for quite a while: so why are we still experimenting?
I have said it before and I will say it again; work together! We are here to help students not protect fiefdoms, so there is no need to try to recreate the wheel. Public, private, for-profit, and non-profit institutions please work together to help students; and those who are continued skeptics of the value of online, tell us what your solution is or calm down please!
It is about the student right?
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III