Online education isn’t new—in the United States more than 700,000 students now study in full-time “distance learning” programs. What’s different is the scale of technology being applied by leaders who mix high-minded goals with sharp-elbowed, low-priced Internet business models. In the stories that will follow in this month’s business report, MIT Technology Review will chart the impact of free online education, particularly the “massive open online courses,” or MOOCs, offered by new education ventures like edX, Coursera, and Udacity, to name the most prominent (see “The Crisis in Higher Education”).
Will they succeed and create something truly different? If they do, we’ll have the answer to our question: online learning will be the most important innovation in education in the last 200 years.
From: MOOCs will eat academia
MOOCs will almost certainly hollow out the teaching component of universities as it stands today. I don’t see anything on the horizon that will reverse this tide. In most technical fields, the nuts and bolts technical interview and on-the-job learning and performance monitoring long ago replaced any faith in degrees as credentials. That leaves very few fields, such as law, where you absolutely do need the degree as a credential.