What does the future hold for education? Even as European education systems struggle with budget cuts and austerity, there is a digital revolution taking place. The internet has the potential to transform education in the same way it is shaking up journalism, publishing, and the music and film industries.
One significant (though awkwardly-named) element of the digital revolution is the so-called “MOOC”. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are free online courses with unlimited global enrolment open to anyone. There were 3,842 MOOCs worldwide in January 2015, and the number is growing exponentially (201% in 2014). They are usually non-accredited, but some universities and colleges may recognise credits from MOOCs.
As part of our Debating Europe Schools series, we’ve been taking questions from students from across Europe to policymakers and experts for them to answer. For today’s debate, we had a question sent in on MOOCs from a student from the Kiev National University of Technology and Design, Ukraine.
Our question came from Maxime, PHD student at Kiev National University of Technology and Design, Ukraine. Maxime wanted to know what will be the role of Massive Open Online Courses in schools and universities. How will they influence upcoming generations of students?
To get a response, we spoke to Roxana Rugina, Co-founder of Simplon, a company offering free training in web development & entrepreneurship.
To get another perspective, we also approached Anant Agarwal, the CEO of EdX, a nonprofit MOOC launched in 2012 that runs on open source software. How would he respond to Maxime?
MOOCs won’t replace universities, but rather enhance the quality of education by incorporating blended learning. In blended classrooms, the on-campus university course can leverage the power of MOOCs to free up classroom time for interactive collaboration and discussion, testing, and problem solving.
EdX also partners with universities and institutions to use its platform to conduct research into how students learn in order to improve on-campus and online education.
MOOCs are also being used to help students transition from high school to university. EdX recently launched a high school initiative, a series of high school and introductory level courses to help bridge the gap between high school and college and prepare learners to university level studies.
What about the second part of Maxime’s question? How does Anant Agarwal think the digital revolution will affect the lives of the next generation of students?
Up to now, quality education – and in some cases, any higher education at all – has been the privilege of the few. We see MOOCs as the great democratizer, and believe that in the future, economics, social status, gender or geography will not determine a student’s access to education or opportunity for success. We also envision a continuous education system – one that doesn’t stop after four years of college. Our vision for the future is to continue to work with universities, institutions, faculty, researchers, and students to innovate and transform education, to make education accessible to everyone, and to improve on-campus learning through research.
What does the future of education look like? How will Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) transform education? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!