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Mooc. One of my favorite things about the internet in the last few years. Stands for: massive, open, online course. And it's the future of higher education, far as I can tell. (that's sincerely my hope as well)
Sure, we have online universities already. But aside from say, University of Phoenix, can you name one? Let alone, how many of you have heard of at least one story of someone getting completely lied to and screwed over by some fly by night, supposedly legitimate and accredited online campus? I've heard and read about dozens.
Online universities have gotten a bad rap for a long time. Even when people do actually get the degree, it's widely understood that a majority of employers don't take them as serious degrees, over a brick and mortar, established institution.
But something has been happening in the last 5 years or so that should grey all this up, and change the great divide between online and brick and mortar: mooc. Right now, top universities like Oxford, Yale, Harvard, etc are offering some of their exclusive (and usually very expensive) courses to anyone online, at little to no cost. Actually I think they are all free. And the demand is substantial.
Tech education companies are gearing up now, getting the technology and interface all perfect, hoping for a big transition to happen, being that all the top universities will eventually and in the near future offer their highly coveted degrees to anyone, fully online.
The University of Arizona has already paved the way here, sorta. You can purchase one year of accreditation for $1600, $200 a course x8, as one example. Imagine being able to get a Harvard/Yale/Oxford/Duke/insert awesome university here undergraduate degree, for pennies on the dollar? And they would be able to heavily discount this BECAUSE of the sheer numbers that would jump at the chance.
Ask any professor if they would rather reach 250 students one time, in one lecture hall. Or 30,000 students online, taking the same class, all over the world, with the ability to rewind and rewatch the teacher's words as much as they like? I gotta imagine that for most circumstances, the professor would want as much reach as possible.
This is extremely exciting for me. I have already taken a few mooc classes, and it's amazing to get access to Oxford and Yale professors, at no cost. I can't wait for the day, hopefully soon, that we will have the ability to purchase a course load, and I can theoretically have a crack at getting a heavily discounted degree from one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Imagine that?