Written by: Bianca Da Silva on Oct 10, 2012 at 12:58pm EDT
MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses, are quickly become extremely popular within the world of online education. One of the biggest forces behind this trend is Coursera, which may have met some resistance in the beginning but is now proud to announce that seventeen new partners have joined them, including Ohio State University. This brings the list of partners up to a massive thirty three including the likes of Princeton, Duke, Johns Hopkins and Stanford. E. Gordon Gee, the president of OSU admits that the reluctance to first join the movement was due to the lack of financial gain on behalf of the university.
Joining with Coursera
What may have convinced Gee to make the leap was the ever increasing list of renowned colleges now offering free online courses. He also mentioned in an interview that he has hopes that a financial model can be made at some point, though for now it would be a bad idea to fall too far behind the trend, especially one that is growing so quickly.
One of the first MOOCs was launched in 2011 by MIT and was simply called MITx. The figures for enrollment reached nearly 150,000 across the globe for the single course that it offered in circuits and electronics. Although the course was only to be a prototype it soon became clear that there was a demand for information. Coursera was founded soon after by two professors from Stanford University and so far it has managed to register around 1.57 million students for its selection of 198 different courses.
Education For Free?
Although this all sounds great for students looking at learning a little more in their free time the MOOC movement does have many educational institutes talking in hushed tones. The movement is too new to really know how it will affect the normal standards of higher education, but there are hopes that rather than replace higher education, MOOCs will help to increase enrollment figures, as well as the income of universities around the world. While there might be debates centering around many facets involving online learning, one thing is for sure; it is going to make higher education more available to the masses.