Harvard develops the next big thing for online learning. Is this the real deal?
Enter the Spoc. And the clue is in the "small, private" part of the name. These courses are still free and delivered through the internet, but access is restricted to much smaller numbers, tens or hundreds, rather than tens of thousands.
It means a selection process for applicants and the capacity for a more customised experience. Looking further down the track, it wouldn't be difficult to imagine fees and course credits.
Harvard and University of California, Berkeley, part of the edX online alliance with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, are among the universities beginning to experiment with this more refined model.