Rubber Hits the Road (Inside Higher Ed)

August 8, 2013
By Ry Rivard

Whether massive open online courses will help traditional college students significantly cut costs remains to be seen, but a smattering of institutional trials may soon help tell.

“Still, Davis made clear, the university is not giving credit for MOOCs themselves but for demonstrated learning associated with them. The offer for transfer credit is only for three Coursera MOOCs and three from Udacity. Each of those are among the MOOCs that have received the American Council on Education’s stamp of approval to fulfill credit requirements.”

The problem of giving credit where credit is due.

But, perhaps even more interesting:

“Last month, San Jose State University said it would “pause” a pilot project with Udacity because of disappointing student outcomes. The results led to a lot of hand-wringing by pundits about MOOCs and the future of online learning, even though the Udacity courses being studied were not exactly MOOCs and online learning has successfully existed in numerous forms for a few decades.

“Still, the early MOOC research is closely watched because of the potential for new technology to automate traditional faculty roles and potentially reduce in a significant way the costs to students. While the San Jose State pause involved a pilot project, titanic decisions are being made about the future of higher ed, and research could boost or wound the ambitions of policy makers, investors and entrepreneurs who say MOOCs are the answer.

(The article also includes a section on “International Experiments.”)

About Ryan C. Fowler

Ryan is a curricular fellow at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington D.C. He also teaches at Franklin and Marshall College and Lancaster Theological Seminary.
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