There is a wonderful quote attributed to Sam Goldwyn:
“Never make forecasts, especially about the future.”
Hardly a day goes by without reading some new information about the potential impact of MOOCs on higher education. In colleges and universities around the United States and around the world, conversations and debates, pro and con some integration of MOOCs with traditional classroom instruction, take place daily.
At the risk of forecasting the future of MOOCs in higher education, I would like to share with you the following information:
In the March 22, 2013 issue of “The Chronicle of Higher Education,” faculty who are teaching or who have taught a MOOC, were asked to comment on their experience. Forty-five percent of the faculty who completed the survey believes that MOOCs will eventually reduce the cost of higher education. Nearly 80% believe that MOOCs are worth the hype and that the courses should be integrated into the traditional system of awarding credit.
The American Council on Education has endorsed five Coursera MOOCs and is reviewing three from Udacity.
On March 20, 2013, the State University of New York’s Board of Trustees endorsed a plan to expand online programs. Faculty in the SUNY system was encouraged to create MOOCs.
California Senate Bill 520 creates the opportunity for California residents to take certain online courses for credit. If the bill passes, and is approved by Governor Jerry Brown, California colleges and universities could be compelled to accept MOOCs for credit.
Some universities, including Arizona State, the University of Cincinnati and the University of Arkansas, will select existing MOOCs in a new program, called Academic Partnerships’ MOOC2Degree. Students who successfully complete a MOOC2Degree course will earn academic credits toward a degree.
In the March 13, 2013 “New York Times” article, Thomas Friedman writes about the global impact of MOOCs. Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel’s course on Justice had 20 million views in China. Information released by edX supports the assumption that MOOCs have a global appeal. Approximately 70% of the students who have signed up for their courses come from outside the United States. Professor Wang Defeng of Fudan University in Shanghai, taught more than I,1000 students in his class,”Introduction to Philosophy.”
Coursera has 2.8 million unique registered users and this month added 29 colleges and universities in the United States and around the world.
Although a great deal of information is available about the potential academic impact of MOOCs, there is little written about the impact on the administrative structure of colleges and universities if MOOCs become an accepted part of how students study and how they graduate. The work of enrollment managers, admission deans and counselors, retention managers and registrars will have to change to accommodate the new academic structure.
Contact me if you are interested in more information on the potential of MOOCs on higher education administrative structures. I promise a lively discussion.