UK’s FutureLearn, a part of Open University, “now hosts over 220 [MOOCs] from 44 partners.” Noteworthy is their completion and participation figures: “Of those that begin a FutureLearn course, 23% go on to complete the majority of steps and all of the assignments, while 39% of them interact with other users through social media, comments and conversations.”1 Takes the wind out of the less-than-10% completion argument, doesn’t it?
Right now, the MOOC’s disruptive path is being carved out in nanodegrees and microdegrees by developers and employers. “By forming partnerships and designing programs in conjunction with employers, ventures with new business models are offering their students programs and degrees that will make them more attractive job candidates.”2
The implications are enormous for colleges that understand this trend. Stuart M. Butler, senior fellow at Brookings, dubs it the “‘general contractor’ model of college education,” and says, “It is only a matter of time before enterprising colleges or other entrepreneurs start assembling comprehensive degree programs consisting of microdegrees supplemented by other experiences, such as a semester abroad and time at a small liberal arts college.” Adding employer-designed microdegrees to one’s transcript and resume seems like a no-brainer for college graduates entering the job market.
An alert from Claude Almansi: Open Internet, a 12-week MOOC that begins on March 6, 2015, is designed to “train a new generation of thinkers and actors to advocate for positive open and free internet policies and agendas from a human rights and public interest approach.” The course is free and offered in the Spanish language. Each week will feature a different module, and “each module will take approximately 2-5 hours of study time, including reading and completing assignments.” It will be hosted on the Peer 2 Peer University platform.
MOOCs appear to be a natural medium for social justice programs such as Open Internet, and I believe it’s only a matter of time before we see an explosion of similar MOOCs worldwide and in many different languages. In the end, MOOCs may just be the great equalizer, serving as the training medium for the world’s human rights activists.
1 “Growth in online courses shows need for universities to incorporate new technology in their teaching models, says expert,” Out-Law.com, Pinsent Masons, 24 Feb. 2015.
2 Stuart M. Butler, “How Google and Coursera may upend the traditional college degree,” TechTank, Brookings, 23 Feb. 2015.