MOOCs and Accreditation

MOOCs are not a particularly new way to run a course, but they have been in the news quite a lot lately. There are many differences between these and COOCs, as my college president calls them (Classic Open Online Courses) — some of these are advantages, some disadvantages. Whatever the case, MOOCs have been in the literature lately. A few weeks ago, the Chronicle ran an article about how the MOOC momentum seems to be slowing down. Then, as I was perusing the Chronicle again this morning, I found that many large companies like Google are teaming up with Coursera, etc. This may change the game quite a bit.

What will the mean for online learning and how employers view these “micro-degrees?” Will these collaborations move MOOCs forward again? Are we on a road towards these courses eventually replacing traditional college programs? That’s an alarmist stance, I think, but for those of us involved in higher education, it is certainly something to think about.

2 thoughts on “MOOCs and Accreditation

  1. Some MOOCs could potentially be very useful. Web learning, when applied with intelligence, can be a great supplement to an entire learning experience. Sites like Khanacademy, edX, and Duolingo have all shown the potential that exists, and it is GREAT!. The problem with Google grabbing an influential hold of many of these sites means that the learning process will have the same kind of hype-man Silicon Valley learning style. This obviously is not the way to go when it comes to more advanced disciplines. Giving the student a certain point percentage each exercise, with a little reward Pokemon-style avatar for each level up (like Khanacademy) is great for those who are unmotivated to learn essentials of algebra again (like me). Learning Homeric poetry at edX with Gregory Nagy is a different animal, as are business statistics, intro to sociology.


  2. Good afternoon Josh!
    I want to thank you very much for taking the time to comment on my post. I really appreciate any interaction I can get on here; I’m hoping this blog will become more and more interactive as it goes along.
    So I think you said this just about as perfectly as anybody could, Josh. I hope it was clear that I am definitely not against MOOCs — I think they hold a lot of potential for some really excellent discourse. It’s as yous said; we need to make sure there is a good amount of thought put into these courses if they are to get any kind of academic credit.
    I know edX, and I particularly enjoy Khan Academy, they have some really thoughtful materials. What’s good about conversations like these is that we can hopefully find a good direction to go in together. I don’t think it has to just be one way or another — i.e., all MOOCs all the time, or no MOOCs at all. Perhaps they can be combined with more traditional courses for a really successful program.
    Thank you again for your thoughts Josh! They are much appreciated.


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