State of the MOOC

Legal and Regulatory Aspects of MOOC Mania

Massive open online courses are all the rage. By allowing anyone to take an online course—in the original form and without receiving a recognized credential from an institution—MOOCs appear to skirt the edges of the complex, multilevel regulatory framework governing American higher education. By different names, these courses have actually been around for years, but the promotion of MOOCs by prestigious American institutions has created a tsunami of interest. In the age of the MOOC are fascinating possibilities for advancing access to quality higher education.

Massive, Open, Online—and Personalized

It’s one of modern cinema’s most familiar and resonant moments: the scene in Good Will Hunting where Matt Damon’s character humiliates a Harvard student, contending that the Ivy Leaguer blew $150,000 to learn less than Will could learn with a library card.

Can MOOCs Become Part of Best Practices in Online Learning?

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have captured the headlines in higher education in the past year. These new platforms were developed to enable both open access and large scale participation in online courses. Many top tier universities are joining the MOOCs bandwagon, afraid of missing an important piece of the Web-based phenomenon. It is our goal as educators to assess whether or not they can become a best practice in online learning.

MOOC Retention Matters

Could the growing popularity of MOOCs cause retention troubles? Yes, if companies and schools come up with a way to offer credit for the courses, experts say.

Jennifer Beyer, a solutions consultant at Hobsons, expects the issue to start appearing if credit is offered, and also if access is no longer free.

Getting it Right, Now

Earlier this year work began on a document that, at the very least, formalizes expectations and minimum standards for schools and students venturing into online learning. With the growth of MOOCs and distance learning, we are entering a time when these alternate forms of learning will supplement and in some cases supplant traditional education models. Universities recognize that they need to find ways to provide cost-effective, quality education to an expanding base, even as their own funding gets slashed.

A Conversation with Tony Bates

Tony Bates is the author of 11 books in the field of online learning and distance education. In addition to his most recent title, Managing Technology in Higher Education: Strategies for Transforming Teaching and Learning (Jossey-Bass/John Wiley & Co. 2011), Bates moderates a widely read blog about online learning and distance education resources at www.tonybates.ca. Popular with audiences at education conferences around the world, Bates will be a featured speaker at UBTech 2013 in Orlando.

A Financially Viable MOOC Business Model

Type “MOOC” (massive open online course) into Google, and you get 2.7 million hits. Type in “MOOC business model,” and you get about 110,000 hits, most of them considering what a viable business model will or should be. More concretely, referring to the websites of the most popular online course providers—Coursera, Udacity, or edX—one is hard pressed to find a clear business model that works, in particular for the institutions that provide the course content.

A College Experience You Can Count On

A wristwatch metaphor for higher ed in the age of MOOCs

Will residential liberal arts colleges follow the path of the wristwatch? I sure hope so. With all of the talk about MOOCs, online instruction, and game-based learning models, many of us working at residential liberal arts colleges are uncertain about our future. The reports are scaring us into conversations about fundamentally restructuring—perhaps even abandoning what we do and how we do it.

Digital and Web in Higher Ed

Seven trends that will shape 2013

Can you believe it? I’ve been writing this column about digital marketing in higher education for seven years.

So much has happened since February 2006. Together we’ve witnessed the first blips of Web 2.0, the development—and demise—of many social networking platforms, and the rising tide of new media that later turned into the social media tsunami. Over the past seven years, we’ve also seen the end of the desktop browser compatibility war, the start of the battle for the mobile and responsive web, and growing interest for digital analytics in higher education.

Managing MOOC Credits

The American Council on Education (ACE) has announced a research effort examining the academic potential of massive open online courses (MOOCs), in which it will evaluate select Coursera courses for college credit. If the ACE College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT) decides to recommend these courses for credit, it could mean an improvement in college affordability for hundreds of thousands of students. It will also raise some logistical questions for administrators at colleges and universities.

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