When first hearing about a MOOC, or seeing an image like the one above, it would seem that they are a pretty good alternative. Being able to complete a course, online, for free, at the same time as thousands of other students around the world, and possibly having that course associated with a well known university. With the current convergence culture we are apart of, what could be better? But when you take a closer look, there are some problems facing MOOCs and students of the online courses, that were brought up in the lecture and tutorial.
One main problem is the very high dropout rate, with only about a 7% graduation rate. This is extremely low, and obviously wouldn’t be accepted by any physical institution. This could be due to the fact that users of MOOCs may find that they are overwhelmed by the pace of the course, or the fact that because everything is online, they don’t feel like they are committed to submitting assessments or keeping up to date, and cannot self-regulate their learning without the help of a tutor to contact.
One aspect that I find very questionable is the fact that assessments are peer assessed. This is because of the whole concept of MOOCs being massive and open, the person running the course cannot mark every students work. So how can you rely on peer marking? Especially if you the MOOC is offering accreditation to a specific University.
With the Australian government cutting funding for universities, I can see a situation in the future where the physical spaces that are universities turn back into that ivory tower situation because fees rise, so online universities are where the masses gather to gain a degree that is too expensive to study for at a physical university. If that is to be the case, then hopefully MOOCs overcome the current problems they are facing.
This website briefly discusses eight situations and questions that MOOCs need to face this year.