Canada’s most trusted higher ed monitor and futurist, Ken Steele, reviews the latest developments in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Online providers have proliferated since the term was coined by UPEI’s Dave Cormier in 2008, now including MIT OpenCourseWare and EdX, Udacity, Coursera and others. So far we haven’t really seen “disruption” of higher education, as predicted by much of the MOOC hype, but we are learning important things about online learning from the “big data” the MOOCs are collecting. Quality MOOCs are expensive to develop, ranging up to $325,000 per course, and all-star profs are even winning Emmy Awards for their MOOCs. EdX first offered certificates for completion of a MOOC in 2010, and a year later started offering certificates for completion of “sequences
” of a dozen MOOCs. Coursera “learning hubs” have managed to overcome the dismal completion rates among MOOC participants, effectively turning them into hybrid or blended courses. This spring, Arizona State University and EdX announced the new Global Freshman Academy, allowing students to get a full year’s credit at a discount rate. Also this spring, Coursera and the University of Illinois launched the iMBA, the first MOOC-based MBA. And Amherst College has outsourced their business courses to Harvard’s HBX. (St Thomas University in New Brunswick has now done likewise.) MOOCs are getting decided less massive, less open, and much less free.
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