Published on 2013/06/21

Are MOOCs Valuable to Stakeholders?

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) continue to be a hot topic among stakeholders across the higher education space. With a number of MOOC providers entering the marketplace and collaborating with institutions, some of the top public universities are expressing their concerns.

Notably, the university leaders from the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) recently issued a paper detailing their thoughts on the issue of MOOCs and laying out the foundation for their next steps.

In the paper, titled “CIC Online Learning Collaboration: A Vision and Framework,” provosts from universities including University of Michigan, Northwestern University and Rutgers University outlined their questions about the value and full intent of MOOCs in the industry.

“While new and cost effective technological capabilities make certain changes in higher education possible, it does not necessarily follow that such changes are desirable, or would be endorsed or utilized by our existing students, faculty, or community members,” the paper states.

An innovative idea was proposed that could help these institutions drive online education forward with the best interests of their faculty and students in mind.

The provosts hinted at a fully collaborative effort between the various CIC institutions that would allow students the flexibility to mix and match online courses at partnering schools. This kind of partnership is expected to give institutions more autonomy over their programming and content delivered online.

“The loss of control, if you will, of going to a commercial supplier is of concern, of course,” Paul DeLuca Jr., provost of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, told Inside Higher Ed.

Even with many of these high caliber institutions still opting to roll out MOOCs with alternative education providers, they argue that these courses may not be the best option for their students.

“How can the CIC schools be proactive in terms of innovation and learning,” Ilesanmi Adesida, provost of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, told Inside Higher Ed. “How can we be of more benefit to students jointly?”

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