The Minds Behind The MOOCs

Academia is buzzing about MOOCs. What sounds like genteel name-calling is actually a powerful new medium with potential to transform the education system. Indeed, MOOCs and mooks are simply unfortunate homophones but the former is certainly ruffling feathers because their aim is to make higher education more affordable (free, in fact). These Massive Open Online Courses picked up speed and weight like a freight train, with more than five million learners in locations spanning the whole globe. Academic heavyweights like Harvard, Stanford and MIT back the courses, giving the world of online learning a much-needed boost of credibility.

In fact, two main players in online platforms, Coursera and Udacity, were founded by Stanford professors. As tuition rates continue to skyrocket, outpacing inflation like a Greyhound racing a Chihuahua, professors have banded together in hopes of making a world where anyone can access the elusive realm of an Ivy League education. The hurdles remain: Passing rates hover in the single-digits and completing a course has yet to be recognized for college credit. However, the appeal of MOOCs for both professors and students is so powerful it just might change higher education for good.

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