November 15, 2013

Why MOOCs are Failing to Disrupt College Education

MOOCs (massive open online courses are gaining popularity, but do they disrupt education by opening up lectures? I don’t think so. Education, especially college education, is so much more than just lectures. The most valuable parts of my college experience is (prioritized):

  1. Interaction with my fellow students. I learned how to work with and lead other very smart people. My friends from college make up a priceless piece of my network.

  2. Brand. I am paying for the brand of the college on my diploma. Good brands attract good employers to recruit on campus.

  3. Access to resources. I had access to funding, an extensive library, and facilities to help my projects. I had access to alumni and career services. Oh, and I also had access to lectures by some engaging professors.

It may seem that the most valuable parts of college happen in classroom lectures (which MOOCs help to open up), but I think the most valuable pieces of education happens elsewhere. This is the genius of universities opening up their lectures. They can distribute freely what seems to be their core value, while continuing to exchange their real value for rising tuition costs.

Technology will disrupt education from outside of what people traditional identify as education. It will happen through Meetups, Accelerators, Wikipedia, etc. MOOCs provide value, but they do not replace the most valuable pieces of my college education. That is why I think MOOCs are ultimately failing at the goal of disrupting education