The Web education phenomenon has hit a rough patch of late. After massive open online courses, or MOOCs as they're awkwardly called, lured tens of millions of dollars in venture funding and millions of users over the past two years, the dream of bringing a quality virtual education to anyone, anywhere isn't quite working out as planned.
Given that it’s the internet age and all, why should classrooms look exactly the way they have for centuries? Here, TED speakers on what can happen when we bring education online … and open it up to anyone who wants to learn, anywhere.
If you haven’t tried a free MOOC, I’d do it sooner than later. In recent weeks, the whole MOOC project took a hit when a University of Pennsylvania study found what was becoming empirically obvious — that MOOCs generally have very low participation and completion rates, and what’s more, most of the students taking the courses are “disproportionately educated, male, [and] wealthy,” and from the United States. This study, combined with other disappointing experiments and findings, will likely make universities think twice about sinking money into creating MOOCs (they can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $50,000 to develop). It might take another 6-12 months to see the shift. But I’d hazard a guess that this January might be the peak of the free MOOC trend. Enjoy them while they last. Whatever their shortcomings, they can be quite informative, and you can’t beat the price.