With Coursera and MIT’s EdX programs paving the way, more colleges are jumping into the world of online learning. The project, known as a “massive open online course,” or “MOOC”, is profiled in the NYT:
The mechanical MOOC will not be as tightly structured as the free courses now offered by leading universities like Harvard, Berkeley, Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania through Coursera or edX, which have enrolled more than a million students. (While M.I.T. is involved in both edX and the new project, they are separate.)The collaborators say that the components of education — content, community and assessment — all exist online, although not in one place. Combining top sites for each, they say, should result in a course that is as good as the far more costly approach taken by Coursera, edX and others, albeit a less polished experience, where the pieces are not custom-created to fit together neatly. If the first course works, they say, it could spur many more similar offerings.
It is exactly this sort of experimentation that will keep American education vital in the 21st century. We’ve only seen the beginning of what online ed can do. Let’s hope we see more in the years ahead.