By Jim Shimabukuro
Technology is increasingly dividing the academy, but this is a natural pattern in change. Most HE institutions fail to grasp that disruption is an outside force that creates a whole new population of students. This oversight or denial leaves colleges and universities fighting to defend its traditional practices — but they’re battling a strawman.
The real “enemy,” if you will, is a whole new way (MOOCs) to reach the world’s nontraditional student population. MOOCs aren’t aimed at traditional college students, but many traditional students are exploring the benefits of MOOCs and some institutions are exploring MOOC-like courses for their students.
The leadership in MOOC development and deployment is increasingly shifting to other parts of the world where HE has been a pipe dream for the masses. In the US, it is also shifting, on little cat feet, to small groups or departments in lesser-known colleges and universities with staff who understand and are exploring the potential of MOOCs. These garage and bootstrap operations are where change is being forged, and it will be interesting to see, in the coming months (not years), where this will take us.
We’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of technology-driven changes to come in HE. On our campuses, we need to take our eyes off the little islands that we call home and look beyond our shores to the vast ocean of possibilities. If we think we’ve witnessed change, we have another think coming. We ain’t seen nothin’ yet!
MOOCs Outside of Mainstream U.S. Higher Ed (updated 10/20/13):
China MOOC: xuetangX, accessed 10/20/13.
Tim Johnson, “Online education inspires eager students in Latin America,” CSM, 10/4/13.
“MOOCs take off in Rwanda: Accreditation, sustainability and quality issues,” Institute of Learning Innovation, 10/1/13.
Carolyn Fox, “Higher, open education for India,” Open Source, 8/29/13. \
Hiep Pham, “Research chemist launches Vietnam’s first MOOCs site,” University World News, 9/21/13.
Filed under: MOOC |