And what should be done to create more awareness for and acceptance of MOOCs (and online education in general) amongst employers as well as political levels?
The last question goes together with the one by Kajal Sengupta above, and maybe also with the news that MoocLab.club shared today, about how Malaysia plans to become the "first country to develop [a] credit recognition policy for online courses":
This is a very good question. I like to refer 2 interview of Dr. Anant Agarwal (President of edx) before moving further to provide my opinions.
1. I took this interview for The Times of India , when I was in the last phase of my Zero Cost MBA project. He talked about some of the problems faced by MOOCs in the developing countries.
2. This is the interview he has given today about the recent developments at edX to modify the offerings.
Allow me to use the world 'online learning' as a common word for every type of learning connected to internet (MOOCs, OCW, Webinars, Podcasts etc) at some places to cover a larger ground and depth.
-Increase in internet penetration:
In developing countries like India, there is acute shortage of high speed broadband connection. MOOCs require such high speed for viewing and downloading the video lectures. I personally faced this problem sometime as highlighted in this interview given to CourseTalk. View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFwK8vEt6HU
So far, good speed internet connection is only available in big cities, thereby limiting the benefits of MOOCs or online learning. But I am hopeful, that it will change in future and more and more people will be able to access these courses. Situation will definitely change in that case.
- Spreading Positive Message
: MOOC's are not a new phenomenon. 'Online learning' has been used from past many years at companies around the world to train their employees in different skills. MOOCs are just offering a slightly version of this learning. An interview of entrepreneur Jos Massen on MOOC Lab Interview series can highlight such benefits for the corporation. http://www.mooclab.club/threads/moo...ast-and-mooc-factory-founder-jos-maassen.889/
'Resistance to new change' happens always. MOOCs are also not very different in this entire context. One of the problems MOOCs are facing since their inception is the unnecessary negative publicity around them. This is a very new format and need different style of evaluation and can be given some more time before being critical. But, they are being labelled by many as 'death of university', 'unfulfilled vision of higher education' etc. In the world, where negative message spread/sell so fast, I think it is the responsibility of MOOCs beneficiaries (including me) to bring the positive image of MOOCs to the larger audience.
Only then we can create a better understanding in the mindset of newer learners.
- Courses in other languages:
Majority of MOOCs are still in English. Although, English is becoming a major trade language but it is still not the mother-tongue of more than half of world population. I have witnessed this problem during my 'Global Marketing' and 'Global Translation' project very clearly. Not just the local languages but customized local content can also be useful in better engaging students.
- Geographical differences:
The acceptance of MOOCs is higher in some countries and lower in others. This can also be said for the acceptance level in the eyes of employers. While companies like Google going ahead with MOOCs and accepting them as a way of skills development, other places remain skeptical about it. In my view, things have already started to change. It will become much better in the coming days.
- Recent positive development in MOOCs:
MOOCs were very new to everyone. For Professors, Learners, and Universities. In past 3 years, a lot has been learn. I also helped many researchers in understanding this new format of learning. Lot of shortcomings were addressed and the following developments will definitely allow more people to understand benefits of MOOCs.
Some new developments that are in progress:
> Capstone project: Started by Coursera in partnering with companies for real life projects.
> Nanodegrees: A lot has been said about this already, I do not have to add more into this
> Prevention of cheating: A lot of work has been done in this area as highlighted by Anant Agarwal in his 2nd interview.
> Transfer of credits: edX is working to give credits on passing courses on online platform. Iversity has also tried something similar in past. Overall, this is a good step.
> Hybrid classroom: On the line of blended learning (online+classroom), this new concept is there to transform both online and offline learning.
> Verified certificates: It's improving the course completion rate.
- Role of Government:
Many Governments are taking MOOCs learning as a best way of educating population in future. In recent months, I have read news from USA, India, France , Jordan and other countries. Institutions such as World Bank, IMF(International Monetary Fun), WEF(World Economic Forum) and recently European Commission are using this format of learning to import knowledge to wider audiences.
Online learning has always been there in some way or other. The involvement of universities has expanded the scope to much wider audience. MOOCs are just 3 years old and they will gain more acceptance with the passage of time.
It was a very good question Nico. I might have distracted at some places to add some extra elements. Hopefully, I have provided a satisfactory response.