The potential social, economic and environmental benefits of MOOCs: operational and historical comparisons with a massive ‘closed online’ course

Andy Lane, Sally Caird, Martin Weller

Abstract


Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) have recently become a much discussed development within higher education. Much of this debate focuses on the philosophical and operational similarities and differences between the types of MOOCs that have emerged to date, the learner completion rates and how they can be sustained. In contrast there has been much less discussion about how such courses do, or do not, fit in with existing higher education policy and practice in terms of the social, economic and environmental benefits. This paper begins to address this issue by comparing and contrasting current MOOCs with one large population ICT-enhanced, mostly online Open University UK course presented a decade earlier and how they have both served, or might serve, broader social, economic or environmental objectives. The paper concludes that while MOOCs are forcing a re-conceptualisation of higher education study, much can also be learned from previous and existing large population mainly online courses from open universities.


Keywords


MOOCs, policy and practice, environmental impact

Full Text:

PDF

References


Boxall, M. (2012, August 8). MOOCs: a massive opportunity for higher education, or digital hype? The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.guardian.co.uk/higher-education-network/blog/2012/aug/08/mooc-coursera-higher-education-investment

Caird, S.; Lane, A. & Swithenby, E. (2013). ICTs and the design of sustainable higher education teaching models: an environmental assessment of UK courses. In S. Caeiro; W. Leal Filho; C. J. C. Jabbour & U. M. Azeiteiro (Eds.). Sustainability Assessment Tools in Higher Education – Mapping Trends and Good Practices at Universities Around the World (pp. 375-386). Springer International Publishing Switzerland.

Cape Town Open Education Declaration. (2007). Cape Town Open Education Declaration: Unlocking the promise of open educational resources. Retrieved from http://www.capetowndeclaration.org/read-the-declaration

Craig, R. (2012, August 31). Elitism, equality and MOOCs. Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved from http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2012/08/31/massive-open-courses-arent-answer-reducing-higher-ed-inequality-essay

Daniel, J. (2012). Making Sense of MOOCs: Musings in a Maze of Myth, Paradox and Possibility. Journal Of Interactive Media In Education, 3(0). Retrieved from http://jime.open.ac.uk/jime/article/view/2012-18

Daniel, J. & Uvalic-Trumbic, S. (2011). The impact of new business models for higher education on student financing. Financing Higher Education in Developing Countries Think Tank, Bellagio Conference Centre, Las Vegas, 8-12 August, 2011. Retrieved from http://www.col.org/resources/speeches/2011presentation/Pages/2011-08-08.aspx

EU. (2012). The European Higher Education Area in 2012: Bologna Process Implementation Report. Retrieved from http://www.ehea.info/Uploads/(1)/Bologna%20Process%20Implementation%20Report.pdf

Falconer, I.; McGill, L.; Littlejohn, A. & Boursinou, E. (2013). Overviews and Analysis of Practices with Open Educational Resources in Adult Education in Europe. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. Retrieved from http://ftp.jrc.es/EURdoc/JRC85471.pdf

Fujiwara, D. (2012). Valuing the Impact of Adult Learning: An analysis of the effect of adult learning on different domains in life. Leicester: National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE). Retrieved from http://shop.niace.org.uk/valuing-impact.html

Johnson, L. Adams, S. & Cummins, M. (2012). The NMC Horizon Report: 2012 Higher Education Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium. Retrieved from http://www.nmc.org/pdf/2012-horizon-report-HE.pdf

Jordan, K. (2013, February 13). Synthesising MOOC completion rates. MoocMoocher. Retrieved from http://moocmoocher.wordpress.com/2013/02/13/synthesising-mooc-completion-rates

Jordan, K. (2014). Initial Trends in Enrolment and Completion of Massive Open Online Courses, International Review of Research on Open and Distance Learning, 15(1), 133-160. Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1651

Lane, A. (2012). A review of the role of national policy and institutional mission in European Distance Teaching Universities with respect to widening participation in higher education study through open educational resources, Distance Education, 33(2), 135-150. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01587919.2012.692067

Lane, A. (2013a). The potential of MOOCs to widen access to, and success in, higher education study. The Open and Flexible Higher Education Conference 2013, 23-25 October 2013, Paris, EADTU, pp. 189-203.

Lane, A. (2013b). Social and economic impacts of open education, in A. Meiszner & L. Squires (Eds.). Openness and Education (Advances in Digital Education and Lifelong Learning, Volume 1), 137-172, Emerald Publishing. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/S2051-2295(2013)0000000006

Liyanagunawardena, T, Williams, S. & Adams, A. (2013a). The impact and reach of MOOCs: A Developing Countries’ perspective. eLearning Papers, 33, Retrieved from http://www.openeducationeuropa.eu/en/download/file/fid/26956

Liyanagunawardena, T, Adams, A. & Williams, S. (2013b). MOOCs: A systematic study of the published literature 2008-2012. International Review of Research on Open and Distance Learning, 14(3), 202-227. Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1455/2531

OECD. (2012). Education Indicators in Focus. Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/edu/skills-beyond-school/Education%20Indicators%20in%20Focus%206%20June%202012.pdf

OECD. (2013). Education at a Glance 2013: OECD Indicators. OECD Publishing. Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/edu/skills-beyond-school/

Mason, R. & Weller, M. (2000). Factors affecting students’ satisfaction on a web course, Australian Journal of Educational Technology, 16(2), 173-200. Retrieved from http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet16/mason.html

McAndrew, P. & Scanlon, E. (2013). Open Learning at a Distance: Lessons for Struggling MOOCs, Science, 342(6165), 1450-1451. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1239686

MOOCs @ Edinburgh Group. (2013). MOOCs @ Edinburgh Report #1. Retrieved from https://www.era.lib.ed.ac.uk/handle/1842/6683

Rodriguez, O. (2013). The concept of openness behind c and x-MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), Open Praxis, 5(1), 67-73. http://dx.doi.org/10.5944/openpraxis.5.1.42

Roy, R.; Potter, S. & Yarrow, K. (2008). Designing low carbon higher education systems: Environmental impacts of campus and distance learning systems. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 9(2), 116–130. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/14676370810856279

The Open University. (2014). What are CAT points or credits? Retrieved from http://www.open.ac.uk/study/credit-transfer/faqs#n75259

Tilbury, D. (2011). Sustainability in Higher Education: A global overview of Commitment and Progress. In Higher Education in the World 4: Higher Education’s Commitment to Sustainability: from Understanding to Action. GUNI. Barcelona: GUNI, Palgrave Macmillan. Series: GUNI Series on the Social Commitment of Universities Global University Network for Innovation.

Universities UK. (2013). Massive open online courses: higher education’s digital moment? Retrieved from http://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/highereducation/Documents/2013/MassiveOpenOnlineCourses.pdf

University of London International Programmes. (2013). Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Report 2013. Retrieved from http://www.londoninternational.ac.uk/sites/default/files/documents/mooc_report-2013.pdf

Weller, M. J. (2000). Creating a Large-scale, Third Generation, Distance Education Course. Open Learning, 15(3), 243-252. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/713688403

Weller, M. & Robinson, L. (2001). Scaling up an Online Course to Deal with 12,000 Students, Education, Communication and Information, 1(3), 307-323. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14636310120117112

Yuan, L. & Powell, S. (2013). MOOCs and disruptive innovation: Implications for higher education. eLearning Papers, 33. Retrieved from http://openeducationeuropa.eu/en/download/file/fid/27007




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5944/openpraxis.6.2.113

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.