Since the University of Edinburgh decided to to join the Coursera platform, MOOCs (or Massive Open Online Courses) have been headline news in UK education circles. Now, the growth in corporate crowd sourced learning solutions, like Udemy and Coursera, is set to bring them to an even wider audience.
MOOC proponents point to their potential for widening access to higher education. But nervous lecturers, fearing the potential for change, are also hitting back. They point out that, while take-up is growing so too are drop-outs. A recent article in the Atlantic cited drop-out rates of 80-95% from MOOCs offered by Stanford, MIT and UC Berkley, before provocatively suggesting “if anything the low rate of success is a sign of the system’s efficiency”. Meanwhile Patrick McGhee, vice-chancellor of the University of East London also recently said that: “There is a danger that MOOCs will reinforce rather than disrupt a two-tier education system in the US, and eventually in the UK, with campus-based learning as premium elite education and online learning as a basic offering.”
MOOC’s are also on the menu at the forthcoming Learning Technologies conference with several presenters set to explain them more detail.