You must be registered to comment and vote on comments.
The virtual is increasingly replacing the actual, with mixed effect.
MOOCs won't replace college courses for credit but what they CAN provide is an opportunity for everyone to explore learning opportunities. If the student doesn't need college credit the student stops with the MOOC. If the student needs college credit (and if universities are smart) universities will develop intense short courses (4 weeks or less) for full college credit that build on what the student learned from the MOOC. Entrance to the short course is by exam (think GMAT or similar). If the student fails to pass the exam he doesn't get in. What a dream for the instructor - 40 enthusiastic and well qualified students in each class.
This offers some exciting opportunities to provide flexible learning to the masses. It also offers the capability to leverage this to reduce the cost of college. Colleges need to embrace this in their business model as opposed to fighting it. The traditional college model needs transformation and yes, it will reduce opportunities for Profs.
I was an early adult distance learner for my master's degree 12 years ago. I'll have to say that my distance learning experience was quite a bit better than at St. Cloud State and the U of M. I was online with my co-students and my advisor would email me back with an answer to any questions, usually in a matter of hours. I finished in a timely manner and the cost was cheaper than Metro State. I graduated I received a promotion based on that degree in under a year. I understand that it's not for everyone, but it worked great for me, a working adult doing shiftwork at the time.
I don't see a problem with this type of learning...I'm guessing many of these online students simply want to learn one topic (like how to code in JAVA or C++) and either already have a degree in something similar (engineering for example) and want to expand their skills or they are students who have no intention of going to college and just want to understand some specific topic. In my opinion I'd like to see many more schools moving in this direction since I believe that is the wave of the future. We need more people with high tech skills...why are we demanding that people must go back to school for 4 years and go $50k+ in debt to do that? I'd much rather see online courses mixed with in person courses where students can obtain these high tech skills within 6 months to a year of time. If you want the well rounded 4 year degree and can afford to be taking philosophy, literature and other liberal ed requirements that's fine you can still go to the traditional college...but we should have another path for mid-career professionals who can't afford to go back to school for 4 years while raising kids, paying for a house, car and everything else in life. Also, for the students who simply want a good job and don't have the patience to sit in school for 4 years (or already have a degree but can't use it, you know like that degree in Urban Studies) we should have an alternative path for education; hopefully these online courses can be a part of that solution.
I am an Engineer, boy that sounds pretentious; I have a BS from U of MN and an MS from U of W Madison. The U of MN is a true disappointment in the distance learning area, so focused on building new buildings and being elite it has lost creditability with many that should respect it and want to aid it. As an undergrad in 1980, the U was crowded and unfriendly, it was late in reacting but it did, and it looked like it was on track until it decided to be something it should not be. UW Madison reaches out to engineers, seminars, short courses, and distance masters degrees, because of this in 2007 I was able to begin work on my Masters which I completed in 2009. U of MN had no interest in me and would make no adjustment to my needs, distance learning is not perfect, there remains a need for some bricks and mortar learning, but distance learning has a huge advantage to us that are working and should be a major part of a college like the U of MN. The program I was in at UW Madison was well run, well taught, and worth the $40K I spent. Too bad the U of MN did not want my $40K because I think that as a Minnesotan we need engineers and we need to keep engineers learning and improving if we want to continue to be a great place to live. Time for U of MN to get off its elitist hinder end and get back to helping Minnesota grow and improve, learning outreach is a key to this activity.
tcthielen, well put. The U really needs to transform and get the focus back on affordable education. Resisting progress and ignoring customers (students) has been the downfall of schools, organizations and civilizations.
No one in my Fortune 500 company takes any on-line degree seriously as a valid degree.
All companies, not just Fortune 500 companies, will soon accept on-line degrees as relevant and useful. There are good data to support the validity, utiity, and effectiveness of on-line degrees. Are they for everyone? No. Studies show that personalities of students impact the way people learn, with introverts performing very well in on-line learning and extroverts doing better with face-to-face learning. Over time, specific curriculum will be developed for individual learners, with some benefiting from more from on-line curriculum design and others needing a blended model of on-line and face-to-face learning.
Your comment is being reviewed for inclusion on the site.
Comments will be reviewed before being published.
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.
425 Portland Av. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55488
© 2013 StarTribune. All rights reserved.
StarTribune.com is powered by Limelight Networks