MOOC ClassroomMOOCs, also known as massive open online courses, are growing quickly in popularity for those who want to gain college-level knowledge without having to pay a college-level price for it. In a New York Times article from 2012 about MOOCs, it was reported that nonprofit MOOC provider edX had 370,000 students signed up for its first official courses. Because of the way they are delivered, MOOCs require a different technological approach than traditional higher education classes. There are several points to consider when thinking about how MOOCs are driving new technology into higher education.

An Increase In Online Collaboration

One of the ways in which MOOCs are driving new technology into higher education is by increasing the amount of collaboration that takes place between students. In the digital age, collaboration frequently occurs through technological tools, which are even more important when it comes to MOOCs. This is because students enrolled in MOOCs are often not in the same town or even the same state. MOOCs allow higher education students to use social media and powerful information and document sharing platforms to help them with their education.

Unique Learning Tools

Another point to think about when you consider how MOOCs are driving new technology into higher education is the unique learning tools that are specifically designed to be used by people taking MOOCs. edX offers virtual labs and tools that can be used by students together to enhance learning.

Another prominent MOOC provider, Coursera, offers a Global Translator Community program to help students across the world access content, even if it is not in their native language. Coursera’s GTC community brings technology into higher education in a way that helps more people than ever before learn the things that they are interested in.

Incorporation Of Video

Video has been around for many years in higher education, but MOOCs are revolutionizing the way that they are used. One example of how MOOCs are driving new technology into higher education is through video study groups that are created to help students complete the MOOCs they have signed up for.

MOOCs are also making video communication more sophisticated by facilitating numerous kinds of video conferences between those who have completed the course and those who are taking the course. An example of this might be found in two different groups of students chatting with each other about their progress through video technology. Video conferencing is also very helpful for MOOCs that require lab activities or hands-on work from students. Professors or graduates of a MOOC can supervise students as they complete activities and provide pointers when they need assistance or give group or individual feedback on performance once the activity is completed.

Are MOOCs The Future Of Education?

While MOOCs are highly lauded by many people, there are others that do not think they are all that they are cracked up to be. US News reported that members of an organization called the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education wrote letters to Coursera and edX questioning the effectiveness of their work. While it remains to be seen exactly how widespread MOOCs will become, one thing that is certain is how MOOCs are driving new technology into higher education.