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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Class Mass Offers Economy of Scale

Size matters when it comes to developing enhancements for college and university courses, in the view of an Inside Higher Education contributor who has taken multiple massive open online courses, better known as MOOCs.

In educational researcher Jonathan Haber’s opinion, the “massive” aspect of MOOCs allows schools to spread the cost of high-tech wizardry across many more students. One of his MOOCs, for example, included videos of a number of professors discussing Chinese art and history on location in various museums and sites around the world.

“Try getting the budget to do that for a 50-person live class,” he wrote.

A MOOC’s inherent hugeness also means a large number of the enrollees already possess a degree, raising the quality of discourse about the class subject. In a Shakespeare MOOC, Haber had a question about Greek mythology relating to Troilus and Cressida, and got a prompt response from another MOOC-taker.

“Try finding that level of expertise in a class full of 18-19-year-olds,” he said.

Haber took a variety of MOOCs in an effort to show that it was possible to accumulate the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in the space of 12 months.

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