Categorized | Perspectives

MOOCs: are they the next big thing?


A  new trend of education that is sweeping the nation is M.O.O.C. A four letter acronym that stands for Massive Open Online Courses, has influenced higher education institutions to rethink  traditional collegiate education instruction.

Most high school graduates know that upon their graduation they have two decisions. They could either enter the work place or enroll in a local college or university.  I, like majority of my senior class, decided that a college education was the better alternative. You research  institutions that have your desired major, apply, then decide how you are going to pay for that particular school. With the expenses of higher education rising, the choices of universities I could afford to attend were slim.

Looking back I wonder  if I could have gained work experience  and still expanded my knowledge in my field.  MOOCS could  have been great for a student like me who enjoyed school but who wasn’t fully committed to the financial burden that would come along with it.

It is a new world for education that requires no real funds, just time and the willingness to learn. I would have definitely bought into that system.

The positives about MOOC’s is not just the cool name or the easy accessibility of taking classes from anywhere in the country, but most importantly the affordability of college level courses being taught by stand-outs in the field. MOOCS give students the experience of college level courses without the expense or set backs of learning styles. Different from online learning resources that are designed to give flexibility to students who need individualized learning schedules,  MOOCS can do that and not penalize you for lack of performance or productivity. The goal of MOOCS is to give anyone who wants to learn something new the opportunity to learn without the commitment of attending a formal university.

90,000 people enrolled in a MOOC offered over a seven week period that taught computer science.  The instructors of the course assured that the abilities learned after completing the course would be on the level to produce search engines like Google and Yahoo. The course was titled “Building a search engine” and was instructed by Sebastian Thrun, a Stanford research professor and Google fellow, and David Evans, a professor from University of Virginia.

Big name instructors have been a pivotal marketing piece for  getting enrollment in MOOC sessions. Udacity is a organization that is taking off because of this growing popularity of online projects. These version of MOOCS have a high level of credibility as their courses are instructed by AT&T, Google and Intuit technical leaders.

Universities like Yale, Stanford, Duke and Harvard have also bought into the MOOC system.  John Etchemendy, the Stanford Provost says, “We’re considering this still completely experimental, and we’re trying to figure out the right way to go down this road.”

This new road of education could benefit so many students. It would prove that not everyone needs to be a  fully enrolled student to benefit from college level information. The only thing that could be better than having free courses is the eventual degree that could come from completing  a course.

Despite there not being a formal way to evaluate the success of a MOOC, the point is to create opportunities for knowledge to benefit you where ever you are in your academic or professional career. I support MOOC’s and think that the potential of a project-based, no expense course could help a lot of students and professionals expand their knowledge.

Amarra Boone

About Amarra Boone

The new girl at a school in the woods. Making my way through this world of communications with Jay Z. as my navigator, yes the rapper. A consumer of media from all outlets, active bird on the twittersphere @AmarraBoone. .

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