If you’re at all interested in education technology, you’ve probably noticed some big changes in recent years. The internet boom has dramatically altered the way educators approach their students, and given the momentum to the slow turning wheel of education change. Many innovators, entrepreneurs, teachers, and students alike are collaborating to keep the education system on par with technological advances (although we all know that the breakneck speed of technology is far faster than any other aspect of culture). So how is technology revolutionizing education?
Part I: MOOCs
MOOCs are Massively Open Online Courses that have become quite the rage in the last year (yes, technology does move quite fast), and has spawned a massive uprising against more traditionalistic concepts of what is acceptable in education. As Times High Education reported, two of the leading MOOC providers, EdX and Coursera, doubled their partnerships with universities in 2012.
EdX, founded by Harvard and MIT, is a not-for-profit open-source learning platform, and offers certification, but not college credit, for courses completed. Launched in 2012, both Harvard and MIT invested over $30 million in research technology for EdX. And with the connections EdX has to a number of Ivy Leagues in the United States, it comes to (almost) no surprise that the first course offered by MITx had over 150,000 students enrolled.
Coursera on the other hand, is a for-profit company founded by Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller, two computer science professors from Stanford University. While the company didn’t have quite the resources at startup, Coursera received upwards of $16 million in venture capital in 2012, and has a business plan that entails divvying up profits with a percentage allotted partnering schools. Last year, over 100 courses were offered through Coursera, has since announced that they would be working with the American Council on Education to determine credit equivalencies.
So, are MOOCs capable of offering reputable college credit? It’s hard to say. According to Coursera, the Department of Education issued in 2010 that online education is at least as effective as face-to-face learning. But a common criticism of a course that enrolls well over 100,000 students is, how do you give quality feedback to so many students? And how can you stop kids from cheating? Finally, how can MOOCs break the barriers of credentialism in a culture that insists on the importance of credentials?
Only technology time will tell.
For more information on MOOCs, check out:
A few sites that I regularly check out: