The Rising Power of MOOCs: Now, Everyone Can Learn at Harvard (or Yale, or…)

Guest post by Julia Smith – 3 years ago, MOOCs were an idea. Now…. 5 million: number of students signed on to MOOCs, around the world – 33,000: the average number of students that sign up for a MOOC. Post & Infographic.

The Dream: MOOCs Can:
• Offer Ivy League Courses at non-Ivy League prices (free), thus….
• Lifting people out of poverty
• Unlock billions of brains to solve the world’s biggest problems

And yet
1 in 4: Americans don’t even know what a MOOC is.
They are: Massive Open Online Courses.

Who Takes MOOCs:

• 37% have a B.S. degree
• 28% have a Master’s degree or profession
• 27% high school

Majority of those taking MOOCs tend to be young, male and employed, from highly developed countries.
• Over 40% of students are under 30 years old
• Less than 10% over 60
• 88 % of MOOC students are male
• 62 % are employed
• 13% are unemployed…or retired

Comparison of geographic location of students, by self identification and IP address
• U.S. 34% of MOOC students
• India: 7.28 %
• Brazil: 4.37 %
• Great Britain: 3.89%
• Canada: 3.4%
• Spain: 2.7 %
• Russia: 2.5%
• China: 2%
• Australia: 2%
• Germany: 1.7%

• Student: 17.4%
• Part time employed: 6.9%
• Full time employed: 50%
• Self employed: 12.4%
• Unemployed: 6.6%
• Retired: 6.8%

Why do students Participate in MOOCs? 
• Gain knowledge to get degree: 13.2%
• Gain specific skills to do job better: 43.9%
• Gain specific skills to get a new job: 17%
• Curiosity: 50%
[Those surveyed could pick more than one answer]

Requirements for successful online learning: 
• Quality of material covered in the course
• Engagement of the teacher
• Interaction among students

Accredited Online (only) Schools offer MOOCs

edX: Courses from:
• Massachusetts Institute of Technology
• Harvard
• University of California Berkeley

Coursera: Courses from:
• California Institute of Technology,
• University of Washington,
• Stanford University,
• Princeton University,
• Duke University
• John Hopkins University, and many others.

Udacity: Partner companies include:
• Google
• Facebook
• Bank of America

Udemy Free courses from:
• Dartmouth,
• the University of Virginia
• Northwestern and others….

iTunes Free Courses
• Apple’s free app. Right in the app, they can play video or audio lectures. Read books and view presentations.

Top Universities offer MOOCs:

• Stanford Free Courses – from Quantum Mechanics to The Future of the Internet.
• Stanford’s Introduction to Artificial Intelligence: 160,000 students from 190 countries signed up to Stanford’s Introduction to AI” course, with 23,000 reportedly completing.
• UC Berkeley Free Courses. Check out Berkeley Webcasts and Berkeley RSS feeds.
• MIT Free Courses: MIT’s RSS MOOC feed, and MIT’s Open Courseware.
• Duke Free Courses – Duke offers a variety of courses on ITunesU.
• Harvard Free Courses: Get a free Harvard education. No application required.
• UCLA Free Courses
• Yale Free Courses – Check out Open Yale
• Carnegie Mellon Free Courses – “No instructors, no credits, no charge”

Pros and Cons of MOOCs:

Pros: By design, MOOCs are….
Incredibly flexible
Diverse in their range of subjects
Open to anyone

And Downs:
No credit for completion
Lack of hands on learning
100,000 or more to 1, student to teacher ratio
High dropout rates of up to 90%




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