Massive Open Online Course is Changing Higher Education

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With the success of Coursera, higher education is moving its platform from classrooms to computers and the Internet. Online education is considered as an affordable substitute for higher education. According to a report by Accenture, online education will change the overall structure of higher education in next few decades.

MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) initiated by MIT launched Open Course, which allows anyone to view the course video clips and Power Point slides. Companies are also expressing interests in MOOC. Google launched Uda City where former and current Googlers offer programming online courses.

Participating in open course is getting popular among Korean colleges as well. Korean Education and Research Information Service (KERIS) launched Korea Open Courseware (KOCW) in 2009 and is currently offering nearly 9,500 college level courses. Seoul National University also started to offer courses on Edx, an online course platform initiated by Harvard and MIT.  This October, a number of top universities in Asia agreed on launching Global Access Asia (GAA), where students will have access to online courses from Asia’s top universities.  Non-Asian universities could also upload their courses on GAA. GAA plans to start its service this December.

MOOC is a huge transition in higher education. Today, where the cost of higher education is increasing, offering college level courses online for little to no fee is revolutionary for those who cannot afford the tuition.

MOOC, however, is a double edge sword. It certainly has great potential and provides people with opportunities to take college level courses from top universities, but it lacks the classroom experience where students interact with professors and peers. Also, because students are not required to finish and complete the courses on MOOC websites, it is questionable as to how many students will actually complete the course. In fact, according to a research by the University of Pennsylvania, only 4% out of 10 million students who enrolled in Coursera and other MOOC sites completed the course.

The rise of Internet and mobile devices is changing the overall higher education industry as well. Yet, the effectiveness of MOOC is still to be determined. MOOC will need to continuously analyze the user experiences in order to achieve its purpose of “college education for all.”

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