One MOOC future

Here’s one way MOOCs could grow into a major education force, according to a New America Foundation director.

Note the way Carey blends in current developments, grounding his scenario:

Some accredited colleges—don’t forget, there are thousands of them—will start accepting MOOC certificates as transfer credit. They’ll see it as a tool for marketing and building enrollment. This is already starting to happen. The nonprofit Saylor Foundation recently struck a deal whereby students completing its free online courses can, for a small fee, take exams to earn credit at Excelsior College, a regionally accredited nonprofit online institution.

Pressure to accept MOOC credits will build and gradually move up the higher-education food chain. Public officials eager to offer credible low-cost options to parents and students fed up with rising college prices will pile on. Many will question the quality of MOOC’s, but that’s the great thing about empiricism—courses can be evaluated and knowledge assessed.

Some organizations will develop businesses devoted exclusively to credible, secure assessments of what MOOC students have learned. Security and integrity will always be issues for online learning… But these are solvable problems. Thrun’s MOOC company, Udacity, is forming a partnership with the textbook giant Pearson’s VUE testing-center service for exactly this reason…

It’s unclear just how far such a change would go.  How many institutions, especially liberal arts campuses, would be able to refuse the MOOC and maintain themselves.

(image by Alan Levine)

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