Oregon’s public community colleges and universities should piggyback on the development of “massively open online courses” (MOOCs) to offer credit for these courses at reduced tuition (because teaching costs are reduced). MOOCs could cut the costs of higher ed in Oregon.
Two recent Inside Higher Ed articles report on MOOC developments.
First Paul Fain’s article “Making It Count” (here):
Massively open online courses, or MOOCs, are not credit-bearing. But a pathway to college credit for the courses already exists -- one that experts say many students may soon take.
That scenario combines the courses with prior learning assessment -- a less-hyped potential “disruption” to traditional higher education -- which is the granting of credit for college-level learning gained outside the traditional academic setting.
Here’s how the process could work: A student successfully completes a MOOC, like Coursera’s Social Network Analysis, which will be taught this fall by Lada Adamic, an associate professor at the University of Michigan. The student then describes what he or she learned in that course, backing it up with proof, in a portfolio developed with the help of LearningCounts.org or another service, perhaps offered by a college……
Second, Steve Kolowich’s article “How Will MOOCs Make Money” (here):
Massively open online courses, or MOOCs, do not currently lead to any widely recognized credential. Still, with more than 1.5 million people having registered for MOOCs through Coursera, Udacity and edX, the demand for the novel online offerings is undeniable.
But while demand appears to be high, none of these three organizations -- two of which are for-profit companies that will be expected to generate money for investors and the other of which is a nonprofit that will be expected to stand on its own feet eventually -- currently has a business plan.
They can afford it, for now. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University together have committed $60 million to edX, Coursera has raised $16 million in venture funding, and Udacity is sitting on an undisclosed infusion from Charles River Ventures. They have cash to burn, and each has focused on establishing partnerships with reputable institutions and professors and harnessing available technologies in its platform.
The MOOC providers are nonetheless in strange territory. They have staked their future on a vision that makes higher education more free than ever before. And yet their task, eventually, will be to figure out how to make money. By declining to charge for content, instruction and assessment, these providers will have to find new ways to cover their overheads and pay back investors....