By Lillian Williams
Still on the fence about MOOCS—those massive open online courses?
Why should MOOCs matter, you ask? How effective are mega online classes anyway?
“I am traditionalist about classroom issues,” you insist. “I prefer face-to-face classroom discussions in all cases over online courses.”
OK. I respect your point of view–and your concerns. But understand that people around the world–including millions of students who hunger for a good education–have moved on. I understand the compelling arguments–pro and con–about this issue. But, listen to the panel in the video above.
In that panel discussion, listen to Khadija Niazi, a 12-year-old Pakistani girl who has taken several courses offered by U.S. MOOC providers Udacity and Coursera. Would she have been able to take these courses in her local community of Pakistan?
Ms. Niazi wants to be a top physicist one day. She describes how MOOCs rock her world.
In fact, we could call Ms. Niazi a poster child for the globalization of education.
Among other panelists that day were Thomas Friedman, columnist for The New York Times and panel moderator; Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Rafael Reif, president of MIT; Larry Summers, president emeritus of Harvard University; Daphne Koller, co-founder of Coursera, and Sebastian Thrun, founder of Udacity.
Again, click on the discussion above.
MOOCs are open to anyone around the globe with an Internet connection. And, let’s make clear: MOOCs are typically free online courses that do not offer college credit, though some offer certificates.
In an experiment to watch, however, San Jose State University is partnering with MOOC provider, Udacity, to offer low-cost introductory-level MOOC courses that carry college credit. This is a small-scale pilot with huge potential (and fall-out).