What would happen to the Future of Education?
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Let’s examine the 2013 and Beyond Future Scenarios:
1. Due to increasing costs of higher education, MOOCs take over from traditional universities. This is highly unlikely to happen, due to the governance of higher education by the government and education authorities. Changes surely would occur, within traditional universities in response to the budget cuts and numerous challenges from the economy. So traditional universities have to operate on a more “business and entrepreneurship” style in order to stay in business. This is where partnership, alliance will be the norm, among universities and higher education institutions.
2. MOOCs turn out to be a craze and die out as quickly as they started. This may be the case for some xMOOCs not well funded (by institutions, or charitable organization) and poorly attended, but these MOOCs will never die that quickly. They would just appear in different forms, as MOOCs mimic the internet and webs. On the other hand, many MOOCs would transform themselves to become SOOCs (Small Open Online Courses) where more and more SOOCs would emerge throughout the webs. Some SOOCs may be mainly for profit, but the majority SOOCs would be run like entrepreneurship, with start up for experimentation and attraction for funding. Isn’t that a replication of what Khan Academy has done? It is a period of transformation for MOOCs to turn into another SOOC format.
3. MOOCs and traditional universities co-exist and work together. This could be an ideal situation, but as there are always tensions between disruptive and sustainable technology (where MOOCs are still perceived as a disruptive technology), such marriage between MOOCs and traditional universities would only be sustainable if the merits far outweigh the demerits, from both MOOCs and universities, and that there are profits and growth sustained with such co-existence model. The image of prestigious institutions would likely be impacted by the disruptive nature of MOOCs, as these institutions would be perceived as revolutionary to the HE. How would the institutions brand themselves if MOOCs are to take over their core business? Indeed, there would be concerns when more and more MOOCs are designed and delivered in a more effective and efficient manner (i.e. cost effective) than the mainstream courses. Would some of the mainstream courses be delivered in a MOOC format because of such shift of pedagogy? I think this would likely occur for some of the “101” introductory courses, where massification could be achieved easily with MOOCs and machine grading in the assessment.
4. Two distinct and competing forms of Higher Education emerge. This is likely to happen in 2013-2014 but would this competition be healthy or disruptive to Higher Education? Such forms of competition is common in industry, and so there could be a lot of winners and losers if this scenario becomes a reality. More stringent requirements would be imposed on MOOCs, with regard to accreditation and quality assurance. So, there would less MOOCs staying in business, when accreditation comes into place, as many MOOCs wouldn’t be able to pass the audit, due to huge drop outs, and the credibility of the competency and certification granted through MOOCs.
How about your speculation? Have you got the crystal ball?