In the last few months I’ve been reading a lot about MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on the Internet. Certainly, these courses have irrupted powerfully in the e-learning panorama, probably because they are free, they are leaded by professional and up-dated teachers and they are offered by prestigious universities. In this link you have a post with more information about the platforms that nowadays offer these courses.
There have been opinions against and in favour, and polemics on the educational value of this kind of courses. Some experts explain that the physical presence of the teacher can’t be substituted by an online tutor and that one tutor can’t properly attend the huge amount of students who participate in the courses. On the contrary, others say that MOOC’s can approach education to everybody who has a computer and an internet connection; therefore they think that the existence of MOOC’s implies the education’s democratization.
On the other side, another effect may result from the success of these kind of courses: What are going to do the universities with their formal courses? Are they going to increase their taxes to compensate the possible decrease of students?
Encouraged by somebody who has qualified this as the learning revolution I’ve decided to enrol in one of that courses and see for myself. I’m taking the Social Media course from Canvas University. What I’ve personally seen is a very good organized course, with a lot of material to study and a participative methodology. The learning rhythm is really fast (if you want to do all the tasks proposed) but you can adapt it to your circumstances. You’ve not penalization if you don’t complete one or more tasks, as well as you don’t get any certificate at the end of the course. The important thing is to learn, and how much you learn it will depend only on you.
To sum up, I think MOOC can be an excellent alternative to very motivated people who want to learn but don’t have the possibility to get around. On the other hand, I’m still wondering what’s going to happen with official education and how are gone to react the universities and other educational institutions.
This video I recommend you illustrates that in some places this reaction has already started.