Universities Striving to Improve How, When MOOCs Are Used

Instructors and students in higher ed are continuing to offer and take MOOCs (massive open online courses) in growing numbers. So in 2015 and beyond, educational institutions will begin to leverage MOOC content (via virtual and blended learning) in their own campuses and continuing education curricula.

Key developments this past year in the MOOC space:

>> MOOC providers roll out their own credentials – Each of the Big 3 MOOC providers introduced their own credentials for paid courses: Udacity’s Nanodegrees, Coursera’s Specializations and edX’s Xseries.

>> Upping the production quality – Universities, seeing both large markets and big uncertainties in the online learning world, have organized and staffed centralized departments to support professors creating these courses, like Harvard’s in-house course production studio.

>> A trend toward “always on” availability – Udacity was the first provider to adopt a self-paced model, back in 2012, which gets closer to the model used by Udemy and Lynda.com. Coursera and FutureLearn are joining in. The challenge will be in providing the interaction and/or assistance most MOOC-takers expect via discussion forums or other methods.

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