The Danger of MOOCs

April 17, 2013 | | 4 Comments

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are the fastest growing trend in education. In 2003 college students taking at least one MOOC made up only 11.7% of the total enrolled student population, in 2011 they made up 32%. Supporters of MOOCs praise this growth saying it shows the growing democratization and spread of college education. However, as many critics have pointed out, these proponents overlook some of the key aspects of a college education. In the classic model of college education students have the opportunity through various social experiences and interactions with both professors and other students to discover who they really are, find their true interests, and to develop themselves into better citizens. All of these opportunities are missing in an online education. Therefore, while an online education may develop students who are just as successfully academically, in purely quantitative terms, this doesn’t mean that they are not missing out on one of the most important lifetime experiences, to their serious detriment.


4 Comments so far

  1.    Claire Bowen on April 19, 2013 6:18 pm

    Nice strategic choice to open with a stat that demonstrates the trend you’re investigating, Mark. I think you can point up, however, how unique your *social* argument and your subject position as a college student are!

  2.    Emma Green on April 19, 2013 7:05 pm

    Mark, I find that the directness of your first sentence presentation as inarguable fact is especially enticing because it seduces the reader into learning more so as to know how you can make such a bold statement. Then, following it up with supporting percentages and other related evidence makes it seem to take on the very tone of delivery of presentation of facts is exactly what I would expect if I were enrolled in a MOOC. Very apropos.

  3.    Taylor Kobran on April 22, 2013 2:48 pm

    This is a great strategy for an introduction, Mark. MOOCs may not be common knowledge so opening with stats and definitions is a good idea. I know that you said in class that you were actually enrolled in a MOOC yourself, so perhaps consider including your own personal experience in the next paragraph. Good job!

  4.    Miriam on April 23, 2013 3:37 am

    Great start, Mark! I curious to know if you think there is a difference between MOOCs and classes at large universities that often have hundreds of students in them. Students in environments like these will often not have any interaction with their professors either. Do you think they are getting a lackluster education as well even though they are physivally going to class?

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