Many people might not be familiar with the term MOOCs, even though they are aware of the online courses that are offered by Coursera, EDX and Udacity. So, before I dig deeper into this topic, this term will be defined. MOOCs stands for ‘Massive Open Online Courses’. The aim of designing them is to provide information about hundreds of different subjects while having an unlimited number of enrollees. The organizations that offer those courses currently have millions of users enrolled from countries around the world (mostly the U.S.). About 20% of the courses that are offered are mainly focused towards Humanities (MOOC Infographic).
How Will This Affect Higher Education?
By default, you would think that offering unlimited courses for everyone is a great initiative. But is it really helping or are there implications to it that people are unaware of? After reviewing an article by Powell and Yuan (2013), I found out that there is an existing term called ‘disruptive innovation’ which means:
“Innovations that deliver a physical product or a service to consumers in such a way as to go against market expectations.”
So, what could be disruptive from online courses that are affordable and provide high quality content for learners? Bower and Christensen (1995) explain that disruption will originate from the failure of leading companies to stay at the top of their industries when technologies or markets change. Meaning, if universities that offer higher education do not keep up with technology consistently, maintaining the high standards of learning will be a challenge. In other words, they have to be able to catch the wave! Technology influences both the people and the market, and monitoring the available intelligence strategically through academics will help students develop well in their studies and future careers.
MOOCs will probably not be a passing fad. In fact, more and more organizations are adopting the same principles of sharing knowledge between people. Our main goal as educators is to ensure this will benefit higher education by bringing new opportunities for innovation in the teaching and learning process.
Bower, J., Christensen, C., 1995. Disruptive technologies: catching the wave. Harvard Business Review, pp.41–53. https:// cbred.uwf.edu/sahls/medicalinformatics/doc les/Disruptive Technologies.pdf
Yuan L. and Powell S., 2013. MOOCs and disruptive innovation: Implications for higher education. https://www.openeducationeuropa.eu/sites/default/files/asset/In-depth_33_2_0.pdf