Rob Jenkins Comments on MOOCs for Community College Students!

Dear Commons Community,

Rob Jenkins, Associate Professor of English, Georgia Perimeter College, in his “Two-Year Track” column in The Chronicle of Higher Education,  comments on the appropriateness of MOOCs for community college students and sees them as a “massively bad idea”.  He is skeptical that community college students will do well in such courses.  To the contrary, he predicts very large drop-out rates.  To make his case, he focuses on the legislation being proposed in California that would require public colleges and universities to grant credit for students closed out of courses.  Here is a sample of his analysis:

“We know that succeeding in online classes requires an extraordinary degree of organization, self-discipline, motivation, and time-management skill…

… we know—or at least we seem to be learning—that MOOCs work best for certain types of students and certain types of courses. The students, of course, are once again the most self-disciplined and internally motivated—primarily, in fact, students who have had successful learning experiences in more traditional settings, including many who have already earned degrees. In other words, not community-college students.”

His conclusion:

“…to recap, California’s plan (or to be fair, one senator’s plan) is basically to dump hundreds of thousands of the state’s least-prepared and least-motivated students into a learning environment that requires the greatest amount of preparation and motivation, where they will take courses that may or may not be effective in that format.

Here’s a prediction: Those students will fail and drop out at astronomical rates. Then the hand-wringing will begin anew, the system will pour millions more dollars into “retention” efforts, and the state will be in an even deeper fix than it is now.”

We shall see!




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