There’s no lack of opinions about massive open online courses (MOOCs). Some view the free online classes as making inexpensive learning possible for the masses, while others point out that thousands sign up but few actually finish the courses.
The real impact, according to Joshua Kim in his blog for Inside Higher Education, is in residential learning. The innovations from MOOCs have been a catalyst for more attention and investment in traditional classroom instruction.
“The impact of MOOCs is that no institution wants to have residential courses that are comparable in quality (and outcomes) to MOOCs,” Kim wrote. “Residential classes must add value beyond that which can be gained (and measured) in open online education.”
That’s particularly true of introductory classes that traditionally have large enrollment. These classes will either need much more funding or be offered as online classes. At the same time, large-enrollment introductory classes can provide a path to making big residential courses even better, according to Kim.
“The same team of faculty, instructional designers, media educators, librarians, and assessment experts who have gained trust and experience in working on MOOCs will also work on redesigning large-enrollment residential classes,” he wrote. “The desire to leverage data and analytics to evolve pedagogical practices that has been so much a part of the MOOC world also applies to residential teaching and learning.”