Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) offering online curriculum are becoming increasingly popular throughout the U.S. and the world.
MOOCs are being created by ambitious educational technical companies in order to make education more available.
There are many such companies providing K12 online education, but there are only three major companies offering online curriculum that stand out from the rest: edX, Coursera, and Udacity. These companies cite that teaching online allows more students anywhere in the world to have access to valuable educational courses than ever before.
MOOCs are quite different than traditional online curriculum courses that offer transferable course credits, charge tuition, and limit enrollment to a specific number of students. MOOCs, however, are generally free of charge, do not provide credits, and offer huge K12 online education class sizes.
Pros and Cons
MOOCs offer some advantages, but are still relatively new and have yet to be fine-tuned. One concern of teaching online is how students can learn in such a massive large-scale environment. Though it is online, MOOC courses tend to have 10,000-100,000 K12 online education students enrolling in any particular class at one time. This can make accurate grading and teaching online quite difficult. Furthermore, how can subjective courses, like poetry, be graded in such an environment. Additionally, the student drop-out rate is much higher with K12 online education provided by MOOCs than traditional or other types of online education curriculum. This is often due to the lack of assistance or the sometimes necessary hand-holding that is required to help students stay on track.
It is common knowledge for teaching and education professionals that a successful online curriculum course should have student/teacher interaction, peer interaction, quality course material, and quality instruction. These factors are often the determining factors of whether or not students will thrive and succeed. Student success is paramount for the success of the long-term success of the educational company. Without happy students they would go out of business.
Courses offered by MOOCs on such a huge scale can make it extremely difficult for those teaching online to connect with their students and have any meaningful impact on them. Some MOOCs offering K12 online education have focused more on teaming up with major universities for course distribution, while others tend to focus their online curriculum more on the ability of their educators to provide an interactive and fun experience with their students. It basically comes down to choosing character or credentials.
Another major drawback with MOOCs is the lack of credits they offer their students. Often, students will put in hours of online curriculum coursework that does not count for college credits. However, this seems to be quickly becoming a problem of the past. Certain MOOCs that provide K12 online education are now emerging that offer their students college credits for certain completed courses. It is predicted that within a 1-2 years most MOOCs will provide college credit courses. Unfortunately, as of today credit offerings are still in the minority, as most MOOCs teaching online still do not offer college credit courses for its students. As these companies continue to gain recognition and start working with more and more colleges, the majority of their course offerings will offer valuable college credits.
Despite their apparent shortcomings, MOOCs do offer the benefit of low-cost education to students and their families. The often extremely low curriculum fees of teaching online offer a refreshing alternative to the high tuition cost of colleges and traditional online educational companies. In the face of rising college costs and student debt, MOOCs offer students valuable education without breaking the bank.
The ability to provide first-rate quality educational courses to the global masses at extremely discounted costs is quite an accomplishment. Though they suffer many challenges, with continued improvement, MOOCs could become quite normal, replacing traditional education systems in the near future.