A new survey of distance-education officials at community colleges found that more two-year institutions are looking into using massive open online courses (MOOCs) and open educational resources (OER). It also showed a majority of the responding two-year institutions remain skeptical of such models.
The study, conducted by the Instructional Technology Council and released at the American Association of Community Colleges annual conference, found that just 1% of community colleges are offering any sort of credit for MOOC completion. It went on to report that 44% are starting to investigate the possibility of using MOOCs, while 42% said they have no plans to incorporate MOOCs into their programs.
Just 36% of the schools see OERS as having a “significant impact,” according to the report. Lack of time for faculty members to find and evaluate OERs and lack of faculty awareness were seen as the biggest reason for not using OERs.
“As would be expected with something so new, campuses are cautious in their approach,” the report noted. “Many community colleges are skeptical that a large-enrollment solution is appropriate for campuses that believe in smaller, more personalized instruction.”
However, the conference opened with a keynote address from Sal Khan, founder of the Khan Academy, promoting open online courses and resources as a way for cash-strapped community colleges to reach more equally cash-strapped students.
Community college students are often adult learners who must contend with time constraints that limit study or are students with remedial needs. Khan said free online tutorials, such as the ones offered by his nonprofit organization, allow students to watch the material as many times as necessary to facilitate learning.
“If we let students work at their own pace, big jumps in achievements are possible,” Khan said.