MOOCs Are Reshaping Higher Education

Are MOOCs still capable of reshaping higher education? Those of us who have been following MOOCs since the beginning are all too familiar with narrative that has surrounded them. First, there were the overblown predictions that MOOCs would bring about the downfall of higher education as we know it. Then, when that didn’t happen (at least not right away), MOOCs were dubbed a failure and pretty much forgotten about, at least by the mainstream media. However, in a keynote address at a recent education conference in Thailand, Willem van Valkenburg of Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands suggested we might in fact be overlooking the real story about how MOOCs are quietly reshaping higher education.

Van Valkenburg started his talk by invoking Amara’s Law. While it may not be as well known as the Gartner Hype Cycle (MOOCs are currently in the “trough of disillusionment” according to this model), Amara’s Law states a similar principle. Namely, we tend to overestimate the impact of a new technology in the short term, even as we underestimate its longer term impact. According to van Valkenburg, MOOCs are already changing higher education in at least four important ways.

Read more

Premium Employers