Online Courses Force Changes To Higher Education

Published on December 4, 2012
by NPR in Accreditation, Productivity, Technology, and Innovation, Higher Education

Excerpt from Claudio Sanchez's post.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

There is a lot of speculation now about what issues - big and small - the Obama administration should tackle in its second term. Education is one thing on many of those lists, and in Washington yesterday, the talk was about one of the hottest trends in the field - something called MOOCS. MOOCS is short for Massive Open Online Courses; college courses, to be exact.

With millions of dollars in funding and the backing of some of the nation's elite institutions, these online courses are attracting hundreds of thousands of students, and also forcing colleges and policymakers to rethink higher education.

Here's NPR's Claudio Sanchez.

CLAUDIO SANCHEZ, BYLINE: Should President Obama appoint an undersecretary of MOOCS at the U.S. Education Department?

(SOUNDBITE OF CONVERSATIONS)

SANCHEZ: That was the actual title of a panel discussion at the National Press Club yesterday - part tongue-in-cheek, part serious. Serious experts say because massive open online courses have changed the whole notion of college access and affordability. Ben Wildavsky, one of the panelists, is senior researcher with the Kauffman Foundation.

BEN WILDAVSKY: Americans are going to start thinking about higher education not as, you know, a traditional college, necessarily, or even a traditional night school, but as something that's sort of moves beyond these traditional barriers of time and place...