Dear Commons Community,
Jeffrey J. Selingo, author of MOOC U: Who Is Getting the Most Out of Online Education and Why, had an article yesterday on MOOCs in a special education section of the New York Times. The title of the piece is Demystifying the MOOC but I believe a better title would have been something like MOOCs Repurposed. He covers what is now familiar ground namely, the rise and hype of MOOC technology, the backlash in 2013, and its future direction. I covered some of theses same issues earlier this year for University Outlook. Here is an excerpt from the Selingo article:
“The companies that rode to fame on the MOOC wave had visions (and still do) of offering unfettered elite education to the masses and driving down college tuition. But the sweet spot for MOOCs is far less inspirational and compelling. The courses have become an important supplement to classroom learning and a tool for professional development.
They are instruments in what George Siemens, who co-taught the first MOOC, in Canada in 2008, calls “the shadow learning economy,” which happens alongside formal education, much in the way textbooks supplement courses.
That is the success story for massive open online courses as they graduate from the hype cycle’s “trough of disillusionment” into the “slope of enlightenment,” on their way to the “plateau of productivity.”
In essence, MOOC technology will be integrated into blended learning environments that allow for extensive interaction with well-financed course content as developed by MOOC providers and others that faculty can use as they see fit. Whether MOOC companies can develop their new role into viable financial enterprises remains to be seen.