Is paying for education a dying industry

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by _T_, Nov 3, 2012.

  1. _T_

    _T_ New Member

  2. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  3. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    The thing is, the product that schools sell isn't really education, it's credentials. MOOCs are non-credit, so they're not really a competing offering to what most schools are really selling.
  4. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    That's the reality.

    Look, free education isn't new -- it's been available forever at your local public library.
    MOOCs just use modern technology to make free education more accessible and interactive.

    Did free public libraries put colleges out of business? If not, why not?
    Why don't people get educated at the library for free, instead of spending tens of thousands of dollars at college?

    The answer is obvious: because a library won't document or certify your learning, and a college will.
    That documentation -- i.e. a degree or a transcript -- is valuable, because most other people will accept it as good evidence that you actually know something.

    Right now, a completion certificate from a free MOOC is not widely accepted as documentation of learning. Maybe this will change in the future.
    But for this to happen, the MOOCs will have to develop a reputation for rigorous testing -- along with rigorous security measures to prevent cheating.
    They aren't there yet.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 3, 2012
  5. AV8R

    AV8R Active Member

    I think it's already happening...indirectly, at least. Excelsior College's new $10,000 degree is based on open courses that the school offers challenge exams for....

    Assessment Based Degree -

  6. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    That's the thing, though -- you get credit for passing the exam, not for taking the MOOC course. You could prepare for that exam in a variety of ways.
  7. Andy Borchers

    Andy Borchers New Member

    Dip your toe in the water - a business model for MOOCs

    A possible business model for a MOOC could be this...

    Have interested individuals take the first course in a degree program via a MOOC. Then once the student applies, is accepted and starts paying tuition, award credit for the MOOC course in a degree program.

    If all a student wants is the learning opportunity of the first course, they pay nothing (other than, perhaps, a book).

    Key institutional consideration - what do you call a person taking a MOOC? You don't call such a person a student. Why not? You have FERPA and RA considerations about services you provide "students". For example, does an individual taking a MOOC have access to campus facilities (such as library, gym, etc.?) or advising?

    Regards - Andy

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 4, 2012
  8. bassethorn

    bassethorn New Member

    Isn't U of London international programmes degrees very close to this? Where the learner studies the materials on his own, writes the London exams. And the degree certifies the learning. Very efficient.
  9. TonyM

    TonyM Member

    New Charter is doing something like that now.

    You can audit New Charter's courses free and then get credit for your work if you decide to become a paying student. Great idea!
  10. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  11. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    We'll see. For one thing, we'll see what ACE says, and what they require. For another, Coursera has said that they don't expect their courses always to be free. And even if it does all go through, students would still have to take advantage of them, and we see through low adoption of CLEP and prior learning assessment that surprisingly few students will take faster, lower cost routes to credit when it deviates from the norm.

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