They are changing the face of education globally

I checked out Coursera’s course offerings and I have to admit they have a great lineup of quality courses. I signed up for “Introduction to Logic” from Stanford which begins soon so I could evaluate the process and quality of delivery, plus I am somewhat interested in logic. Then I signed up for “Introduction to Genome Science” from University of Pennsylvania for a fun refresher to my MS in Bioinformatics where my thesis was “Security of Our Personal Genome”. Purely continuing education but what a huge market that could be. You do realize this is wave 2 of open courseware. Coursera’s quote: We are changing the face of education globally, and we invite you to join us. Let’s assume Coursera is able to competently deliver these courses to any number of students. And let’s assume their student assessment techniques allow them to validate that learning took place. They have the prestigious of elite institutions of higher education. What does this mean?

What if a year from now millions of people are successfully completing courses through Coursera, Udacity and probably other copycat competitors. First Coursera is going to be worth billions and second a benchmark will be established that will define what is a quality online course. What will this benchmark mean? It will eliminate the argument that legitimate For-Profit online providers lack in quality. But more important it will validate the other argument that many of the online courses from traditional non-profit institutions are not worth the bandwidth you are wasting on them. So what does this mean for most of us (higher education)? Our online or blended offerings which we realize we must offer will have to be of similar quality to the free offerings from the Coursera’s of the world. We will have a benchmark. And then we just worry about holding on to our control of accreditation for validating what is a college degree and what is it worth. I am thankful that we will still have the value of the campus experience, but again, what will it be worth.

Update July 17, 2012 – More research universities join Coursera

About ghsmith76

Greg Smith is currently the Interim CIO at Western Washington University. Prior to WWU Greg was the CIO at Missouri S&T, and before that the CIO for George Fox University in Newberg, OR. Greg went to the Northwest from the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology in Indianapolis, IN. where he served as the Director of IT for 8 years. Prior to the IT career in Academia, Greg was a Systems Consultant with Hewlett-Packard primarily with the Analytical Group working out of San Francisco,Cincinnati and Indianapolis. Greg's passion as a CIO in Higher Education comes from his belief that Technology can benefit Teaching & Learning.

Posted on April 20, 2012, in academic, Bioinformatics, genome, Higher Education, Online Learning and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I have completed most of my first week’s assignments so I thought I would give a quick recap. Overall I am impressed with the delivery. Not totally polished but pedagogically very effective for learning. It appears the coding used for the delivery LMS is also very clean and follows HTML5 coding. I really liked the way their video delivery gave you everything you needed by interspersing exercises. The notes and problem sets are well correlated to the material.

    My Director of EdTech commented to me that Coursera offered no opportunity to build Community which we know is critical for a successful Online or Blended Learning Program. This is correct but I also understand that in this free context supporting a massive number of students you can’t allow personal identity to be made available. Forums do exist and are helpful but this is about personal learning with some help but not really talking to a community collaboration level. Interesting though how the students wanted to create community by setting up FaceBook Groups.

    And we can’t leave out Harvard or MIT – enter edX

    Like

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