Sunday, May 13, 2012

From Books to MOOCs: The Future of the Higher Education

Brad Waters / May 8, 2012

As someone who offers practically all of his client services virtually ... , recent announcements in online education technology are exciting in their potential for how we reach clients.The evolution of technology is of course a continuum that has no imaginable end point ... . [snip]. In 1636, John Harvard most certainly never envisioned a future where students did not have to step foot on campus to learn from his university’s esteemed professors. Yet due to recent applications of technology and recent collaborations between the nation’s top universities, that prospect is expanding at a rapid pace.

Recent innovations in “MOOC”s or massive open online courses are popping up everywhere and appear to be in a virtual sprint in recent months. [snip].

MOOCs undoubtedly open doors to segments of the population who may have otherwise found the barriers to higher education insurmountable. [snip].

If the new Coursera project is any indication, it appears as though some of the barriers are receiving a technological tear-down. It was recently announced that Princeton, Stanford, University of Pennsylvania, University of Michigan, and University of California at Berkeley are partnering to offer top-notch free college-level courses online. [snip].

In addition to Coursera, the public has access to free online courses through Udacity ... , Khan Academy ... , Academic Room ... , Harvardx ..., and .... MITx and OpenCourseWare to name a few of the largest, most recent, and most prestigious. MIT and Harvard have also just announced edX, ... .

With all these clever acronym-heavy options, choosing your online coursework may soon be the modern equivalent to agonizing over which university to apply to during high school… with absolutely no disruption in your parents nagging at you to clean your room for the next four years.

While the aforementioned platforms don’t currently offer full online degrees, it is expected that in 2014 the Minerva Project will be launched to fill that niche. According to their website, Minerva claims to be “the first elite American University to be launched in a century” and is recruiting “the world's most inspirational and engrossing professors” and top notch student body. [snip],

The common distinction they will no doubt share is that of being at the center of controversy regarding the form of the future classroom, the quality of virtual higher education, the state of the iconic college campus, and the socialization and maturation of the university student. [snip]


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