Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are creating a stir in the educational world. Elite universities have been forced to welcome learning content online. MOOCs use learning resources such as videos, webcasts and problem sets, and supplement them with interactive discussion forums and teachers. They are a perfect avenue for students who may be looking beyond their current college curriculum and want to gain some extra knowledge on the side. Since there are no compulsions regarding place and time, classes can be taken at your own convenience. You can check out websites such as www.coursera.org, www.edx.org and www.udacity.com to choose among a plethora of courses that may suit your fancy.
Here are a few reasons why MOOCs are the next big thing of higher education:
1. No More Elitism
Only few of us gain admission into top institutions such as the Ivy League ones or the Oxbridge. MOOCs offer courses from the best of the universities (including our own IITs) online for free and with no attendance limits. You do not need to be an A-grade student to be a part of classes from Stanford or MIT, for instance.
2. Rising Fee and Costs
Cost of education is rising due to high administrative costs and huge technological investments. Most students cannot afford the expensive education these institutions offer and settle for the mediocre ones. But MOOCs are offered universally at absolutely no or maybe a nominal cost.
3. Rising Demand for Education
Traditional universities finding it challenging to keep pace with the ever rising demand for quality education. MOOCs are the answer. With low establishment costs and large economies of scale, MOOCs radically reduce costs and there is also no limit to the number of students in a course.
4. Learning at Convenience
Online courses have given students the freedom to study a discipline of their choice at the convenience of their own time. It allows students to balance other aspects of their life according to their convenience.
5. Overcomes Geographical Disparity
Since MOOCs are offered on the Internet, you can access courses from anywhere in the world. Many MOOCs are also offered in multiple languages and if not, then with subtitles. Basically, anyone with access to the Internet can curate a global classroom at his or her own doorstep.