For a long time, I have been overwhelmed by the philosophical cornerstone of MOOCs – massive, open to the public. Over time, it is becoming clearer to me – (1) MOOCs did not and will not replace universities; (2) Massive education is a good thing but when things become too available, people start to take it for granted. Value of a massively available product drops. Where do we see a direction of MOOOCs?
(1) Professional development – training of professionals such as teachers, healthcare professionals, etc. An adult learner see learning less as a process to get a degree. Rather he/she will be motivated when he/she knows what is learned will be applied immediately.
(2) Research enrichment – use MOOCs to collect database for a certain research subject. If an educator is able to enrich his/her research by gathering students input around the world, that provides justification for the huge efforts behind making a MOOC course.
(3) Peer to peer teaching – In a virtual classroom of thousands of learners, it is much more likely one’s particular inquiry will be answered by his/her peer. It is not to say a teacher’s role will be diminished as a subject expert. However nobody knows everything about everything, it is always good to have extra brain power.