"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." - William Butler Yeats
Is higher education widening the gap between the rich and the poor? A 2011 survey indicated that 35 percent college admission directors are increasing their efforts to find "full pay" students instead of low-income students. Given the rise of tuitions, can technology like massively open online courses (MOOCs) reduce tuition costs and make education more affordable? Many argue the answer is yes.
Some in fact argue that fighting online courses is like fighting gravity. In a recent post in The Atlantic, titled "College Is Going Online, Whether We Like It Or Not," is was said that this digital disruption is unstoppable. Student debt continues to rise, passing $1.1 trillion dollars in 2013 with 2 out of 3 students graduating with debt. In fact the student debt has doubled since 2007 and not slowing down. Online courses have been available since 1990s - like the University of Phoenix - but new companies like Udacity and Coursera are delivering online courses with new models that range from free to extremely affordable online curriculum. But not all educators are in favor of these new models of delivering courses to a massive audience in an affordable model.
McKinsey recently published their views of converging trends for open online courses and new business models surrounding MOOCs. Millions of students are taking advantage of affordable - often free - world-class online courses and materials. These new business models include textbooks, tutoring, proctored exams, pre-degree fees, and more.
The impact of online training at scales goes beyond colleges and universities. A recent Harvard Business Review post noted the impact of MOOCs for company learning and the expected digital transformations in business. The biggest challenge is for managers and business leaders to become more digitally savvy. "Disruptive transformation is always painful and challenging. But when you know it's coming, it's usually better to be a few steps ahead than a few gigabytes behind," said Ron Ashkenas.
In an attempt to better understand trends in adoption of massively open online courses (MOOCs), we at Enterasys decided to survey several hundred educators around the world. The results our study is captured in the inforgraphic below. Here are the key takeaways:
- 90 percent of schools offer or plan to offer online courses in the next 3 years - 74 percent offer today
- 2013 - Only 13 percent of schools offer MOOC; but 43 percent plan to offer MOOCs by 2016
- 84 percent of schools say MOOCs complement residential education
- MOOCs are appropriate for -- top 3 answers: continuing education (72 percent), non-degree programs (59 percent), technical training (53 percent). Only 19 percent believe MOOCs are appropriate for all courses.
- Biggest value of MOOCs: 44 percent keeping up with development in education, 35 percent raising visibility of the school, 16 percent improving quality of our residential teaching
- Biggest drawback of MOOCs: 41 percent lack of consistent review and grading system, 25 percent high cost of develop and implement, 15 percent high time commitment
- Only 44 percent of schools are planning to offer MOOC credits!
- 83 percent of schools would consider joining an online education group such as edX, Coursera, or Udacity
- 67 percent of schools believe that MOOCs will never replace traditional, residential classes; 5 percent said yes within 5 years!
We plan to continue researching the adoption of massive open online courses. I would also love to interview CIOs who are driving MOOC initiatives and share your thought leadership with others.