Two recent surveys offer some insight on the status of MOOCs in higher education. The first, conducted by Smart Brief, a content distributer for ASCD, asked the following question: Which statement best represents your views about online learning through massive online open courses in higher education?
- Online learning through MOOCs may be a viable option for all students (53.91%)
- Online learning through MOOCs is a good option for non-degree-seeking students only (21.74%)
- Online learning through MOOCs is poised to disrupt the higher education model as a whole (16.52%)
- Online learning through MOOCs is a passing fad (7.83%)
The answers suggest that the majority of educators are open to using MOOCs with their students. In a previous post, I have suggested another play; educational leaders should use MOOCs to engage teachers.
The second survey was one that was made by Coursera students called: MOOCs are not enough – How to use the full power of online education? Alert readers will notice that I repurposed their lead image. This survey has had more than 200 responses and has generated some ideas for improving online education. Three observations resonated with me.
- MOOCs offer a scalable method to learn anytime, anywhere and in very large and diverse groups.
- MOOCs need to invest in the trend toward personalizing education.
- Practical projects created during MOOCs are collaborative, peer reviewed, and often demonstrate deep and relevant learning.
The author sums up his recommendations with an informative graphic that illustrates how MOOCs should be more focused on student goals, move toward fully personalized learning, and remain free and flexible. The emphasis on free and flexible is not lost on me as a MOOC advocate for teacher professional development. Teachers are starving for high quality professional development. As a History-Social Studies teacher, I know that under the Common Core, all subject teachers need to be writing teachers. Unfortunately many History/Social Studies teachers have not had significant instruction and/or practice in historical writing. Worse, very few teacher professional development seminars focus on this topic. Further, the educational publishing market has compounded this problem by concentrating most Common Core curriculum development solely in the subjects of English and Math. Perhaps MOOCs could be used to train teachers interested in making their students college ready writers?
Sadly, I suspect most districts will wait until the new subject-matter assessments are created and then train teachers on how to help their students master the new standards. Kind of reminds me of this old New Yorker cartoon. I believe MOOCs could showcase inspirational teaching and make teacher PD uplifting. Anyone with me?