Authors: Calestous Juma
February 2014
Publication:
Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University

One of the most highly touted developments of the last five years was the rise of the Massively Open Online Content (MOOCs).This ubiquitous source of educational material promised to revolutionize education, mostly in industrialized countries. The lure of open educational content was irresistible. America’s leading higher education institutions, led by Stanford University, took the plunge. Sending a new revolutionary trends emerge, Harvard University and MIT created edX, a joint effort to provide online courses. The edX consortium now includes 30 leading universities from around the world. Long before these giants stormed the science, entrepreneurial efforts such as the MIT-led OpenCourseWare (OCW) movement had set the stage for the coming disruption of the educational system. Institutions around the world grappled with how to adapt to the age of abundance, driven in part by the open source rebellion. These efforts tended to focus largely on revolutionizing education [in] industrialized countries. More recently, the MOOC promise has come under scrutiny as early evidence of its impact started to emerge. The rate of completion of MOOC-based courses was surprising low and their pedagogic contributions became uncertain. The evaluations, however, have failed to distinguish between the dynamics of early euphoric adopters and long-trends in technological innovation. There is a possibility that the MOOC revolution will follow the pattern of mobile phone adoption, favoring poor countries with outdated educational infrastructure and technology.

Related Topics