MOOCs as experiments

There has been plenty of media coverage on massive open online courses (MOOCs), and the recent article I chose to comment on (Confirming the MOOC Myth) summarizes much the research conducted on MOOCs thus far from various sources. The consensus so far is that MOOCs “have yet to live up to their potential,” if we assume MOOCs to completely transform higher education. But such an assumption is absurd because no one component (e.g., online learning, tuition) can completely transform higher education. All parts need to work together in a way that benefits various types of students. Beyond just listing the pros and cons of MOOCs, the article also hints at the experimental nature of MOOCs: “presenters reminded listeners that their research — and the search for more uses for MOOCs — requires more time.” Framing MOOCs as an experimental endeavor highlights the need for further research on exactly how these courses are impacting (or can impact) the lives of individuals in different age groups. I see this advancement of online learning as a call for more careful examination and comparison of various learning styles at the post-secondary level.

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