Twenty years from now, many colleges and universities will be closed, their classrooms deserted and their students learning at home. These are the predictions of many post-secondary commentators these days. What is it that has changed so drastically? Is it that students are more demanding, faculty less committed, budgets too tight? No, none of these (I hope). It is all because of MOOCs. MOOCs are going to topple our ivory towers, say the pundits. MOOCs are “massive open online courses,” and they are about to do to universities and colleges what iTunes did to the music industry. It’s called disruptive innovation, and it can be a thrilling but challenging ride for all concerned. MOOCs have a number of advantages as the logical extensions of online learning. They are open (free of bothersome tuition fees) and massive (thousands of students can be enrolled in one course). MOOCs allow people to sample university learning in a non-threatening environment.
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