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Will MOOCs Replace the Traditional Classroom Model?
posted by: Ruthie | April 11, 2014, 05:12 PM   

The question about the future of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and other online classes is one that concerns many educators.  No matter your feeling about the role of MOOCs in post-secondary education, the fact is that we’re in the middle of a period where education is undergoing a dramatic change.

Technology is not only changing what teachers do in their classroom, or even if they’re found in a traditional classroom, but the progression is also changing the way that teachers continue their own professional learning.  Education continues to be one of the most popular subjects in both MOOC classes and online colleges.

Intelligence Squared
, a foundation that holds debates on various policy subjects, recently raised the subject of MOOCs as a debate topic.  The panel included Anant Agawal of edX, Ben Nelson who is working on the Minerva Project in support of MOOCs and online education, Jonathan Cole of Columbia University, and Rebecca Schuman from the Chornicle of Higher Education against the expansion of MOOCs.

Points made in the debate include:
  • A small class is a wonderful thing, but how many students can experience that environment?
  • Education is already being “dumbed down” due to the lack of time.
  • Teaching analysis and critical thinking is not possible in a large scale asynchronous environment.
  • Undergraduate, and even high school students, are taking MOOCs on their own time.
  • If schools thought they could replace professors with low-level teachers and online courses they will do that, drastically reducing the quality of a post-secondary education.
  • Students seem to prefer face-to-face interactions over online education
  • It’s too soon to know how students will do in the professional world.

You can watch the full debate on the Intelligence Squared website.


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