Rapid change is the norm, and for professional development in business, MOOCs are the answer. “Wharton School recently teamed up with Coursera . . . and tech start-ups Snapdeal and Shazam to launch $595 online courses with certificates.” This unbundled or certificate model underscores the MOOC’s disruptive force. “‘For adults who have limited resources – whether that’s time or money,'” says Rick Levin, Coursera chief executive, “‘the Specialization [industry project] model works well.'”1
As change approaches warp speed, the shelf life of knowledge decreases and the need for constantly accessible modules of new knowledge increases. The watchword here is accessible, and this is the MOOC’s domain.
This fact is becoming increasingly obvious in the world of business where you’re either on the leading edge or out of the picture, and the critical factor is time. You can’t pause or stop to learn. Learning has to be on the go, and this means anytime-anywhere.
Will this disruption creep into our college campuses? Will traditional students take to learning in MOOC modules to keep pace with the latest developments in their field? How will this impact courses in the more traditional semester mold?
Most expect professors to gradually blend modules into their curricula, but this is an institutional perspective. My guess is that students will self-modularize and independently flow toward MOOCs that give them the edge, regardless of what professors and colleges decide to do.
In fact, this is already happening, but this disruption doesn’t show up on the campus-richter scale because, from all appearances, the students are on campus and sitting in lecture halls.
On college campuses in other parts of the world, the disruptive power of MOOCs is being embraced. Shahrin Sahib, vice-chancellor of Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka (UTeM), sees MOOCs as a window for “‘students to work collaboratively and closely with colleagues around the world and to have access not only to course instructors, but to textbook authors and experts from other institutions.'”2
For Sahib, the playing field is no longer just the university campus or Malaysia but the globe. He says, “‘If students are to fully assume positions of leadership and responsibility in specific organizations and in society as a whole, then they must be prepared to deal with the global environment.'” For college students, regardless of location, MOOCs are an interactive and accessible portal to that environment.
1 Seb Murray, “Technology Expands Business Education As Students Opt for Digital Route,” BusinessBecause, 10 Mar. 2015.
2 Kelly Koh, “MOOC Can Help Create Global-ready Graduates,” New Straits Times, 10 Mar. 2015.