Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, are the latest trend to hit higher education and have garnered a tremendous amount of attention from the media and from high-profile investors. In the midst of their increasing popularity, MOOCs have also sparked controversy as universities grapple with how MOOCs may impact their institutions and higher education in general.
In a webinar hosted by The Chronicle of Higher Education, Dr. Vince Kellen, CIO and Senior Vice Provost at the University of Kentucky, addressed these questions by sharing his perspective on MOOCs and what institutions should consider as they contemplate the role of MOOCs in their overall strategy.
Finding success with educational technologies like MOOCs can best be summed up by a statement Vince made during the webinar: organizations that invest in both technology and practices together are finding that they get a quadrupling of results. It's practice, plus technology that makes the difference.
A few other points in his presentation also struck us:
- We’re at an interesting point in educational technology and MOOCs have the potential to really disrupt higher education. But before jumping on the latest technology bandwagon, go back to the fundamentals and ask yourself some basic questions: How will this technology help my organization advance its mission? How will it help solve a critical problem? How can it help us enhance our institution’s competitiveness?
- Economic trends are impacting educational technologies. As the demand for high-skill and low-skill jobs increase, workers with middle-skills are getting squeezed out and, for the first time, having a bachelors degree may not be enough for graduates to stand out. As middle-skill workers look to update their skills or pursue advanced degrees, MOOCs could be the medium by which to meet these workers.
- MOOCs could also be used as a recruiting tool for colleges/universities and as a way to market or extend their “brand” beyond their particular region, even internationally. Vince offered an example of how elite universities could use MOOCs to reach autodidacts, who most likely want to interact with this type of institution. The pairing of a MOOC with an elite institution offers a way for these schools to learn more about this type of learner and what they need to do to bring these students into their university.
- Echo360 is basically a “MOOC in a box.” Echo360 already provides a course capture system, and incorporates OCR technology among other capabilities. The addition of more interactive lecture tools like quizzes, an adaptive learning engine and other features could further automate the assessment of students’ mastery of concepts.
Dr. Kellen also made a couple of predictions including this: in the next three to five years a new model for higher education will be born. This new model will weave:
- Technology and practice;
- Data and analytics to tailor, personalize and enhance learning;
- A range of content creation approaches; and
- The creative use of data and IT to knit these all together.
We look forward to checking back in a few years to see how his prediction comes to fruition.
You can access the archived presentation here and you can also check out what resonated with those in attendance by searching for #GotMOOC on Twitter.
Our thanks to Dr. Kellen for presenting; to Dr. Michael Zastrocky, Executive Director of the Leadership Board for CIO's in Higher Education, for moderating the webinar; and to everyone who attended.