"MOOC may be a silly-sounding acronym, but this new breed of online classes is shaking up the higher education world in ways that could be good for cash-strapped students and terrible for cash-strapped colleges ... MOOCs, short for massive open online courses, are a different animal. They can be taken by hundreds of thousands of students at the same time. And perhaps the most striking thing about MOOCs, many of which are being taught by professors at prestigious universities, is that they’re free" (see article link)
The intention is for this to be a balanced curation of current debates around MOOCs but I need to put my cards on the table - I love the whole MOOC adventure!!! I am enrolled in several courses (from Coursera and Venture Lab) and loving every moment of it! It is not perfect! I personally don't think it is the answer to the world's access to education problem as claimed (most that I am studying with are already highly qualified in their field and lifelong learners), I am also not sure about the validity or transferability of any research findings to any other teaching environment bar MOOCs but what I do know for sure - it is fun!!! I have met many brilliant people from all over the world to share the experience with, an experience that is MUCH more valuable than just the concepts taught - so purists beware!!! What a shame it would be if people downplay the potential value of MOOCs just because they choose to see the 'parts' rather than the 'whole'!!!