The Future of Online Learning?

In the NY Times today is an article about an online course being offered by Stanford University.  58,000 people have signed up to attend.  That is not a typo- fifty eight thousand students for one course!  It should be interesting to see how they handle this scale of participation.  I know they intend to analyze the effectiveness of this course and I look forward to seeing their data and conclusions.

The notable points that I gleaned from this article are first, this seems like a perfect example of a new breed of courses that are known by the acronym MOOC– Massive Open Online Course.  They are offered for free, via the web, to large groups of people and generally only offer a “certificate of completion” or attendance.  To receive college credit, a student would have to apply to a related college.  Secondly, I can wholeheartedly approve pedagogically with the principle of delivering lectures online asynchronously while reserving synchronous face to face and online interactions to problem solving, group work, tutoring etc.  Teachers can focus more valuable time on student interactions instead of just lectures-which can be recorded and reused in subsequent delivery of the same course.

I encourage everyone to read the article and look into MOOCs for their theory and perhaps try enrolling in one yourself.


Image by razorray15 Flickr Creative Commons

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