What is opportunistic education?
It means taking up the opportunities that are available to provide some extraordinary education to the public.
I think the current education based on MOOC could likely be based on such a model of education. To some extent, most of the MOOC providers are opportunists, and I am using these terms in a positive sense. There could be venture capital involved in such opportunities, and thus exploitation of education as a profit and money making commodity. In a commercial world of business, this might be another way to chart out a pathway in order to sustain a long term growth in higher education. Education needs financial support in order to be sustainable. That is the reality.
Here public universities are offering free open online courses (MOOC) for credit, hoping those who completed the courses would pay the fees and continue in their studies with the Universities.
The universities — including Arizona State, the University of Cincinnati and the University of Arkansas system — will choose which of their existing online courses to convert to a massive open online course, or MOOC, in the new program, called MOOC2Degree.
The proliferation of free online courses from top universities like Harvard and Stanford over the past year has prompted great interest in online learning. But those courses, so far, have generally not carried credit.
This is a win-win solution, in that it would benefit both the learners, educators, professors, community (COPs), and institutions.
Learners would be able to access free higher education without payment first, and then once they succeed in passing the course, they would then pay to get their credits.
Educators and Professors
Educators and professors would be able to network and learn with different cohort of students, enabling them to teach in partnership with other educators and professors in the world of MOOCs, especially when those participants are also other educators and professors from other institutions.
Community and Community of Practice 2.0
This would naturally help in bonding people who are having similar interests in teaching and research, and could stimulate a whole new world of teaching and learning practice based on a global and local community of practice approach. This could be an emerging trend, and I would like to coin it as COP 2.0, where blogs, wikis and social book marking offer facilities that support learning in practice in communities of practice. This would also open new opportunistic education to COP3.0 which consists of conglomeration of COPs each interacting with each others, based on the COPs formed as a result of those different MOOCs and COP2.0.
Institutions would also be able attract more students globally, through such marketing campaign, and could also show case their institutions’ support, including the provision of education and teaching by the professors, and the assessment and learning management systems. Such act would also benefit those other mainstream students doing the course on campus, or those taking the course on credits, in that they could network with others who are taking the course not-for-credit during the study.
As posted in this:
Ideally, the MOOC2Degree effort will not only enable the universities to promote their online programs while reducing the cost of degrees to students, Mr. Best added in an interview, but it will also help the universities identify students who are well equipped to complete their online courses.
These are opportunities that would also be taken by the venture capitalists, private education providers, who would likely become the investors, brokers of education, in exploiting the MOOC.
Would this transform higher education in the long run? I will explore this with you in the coming posts.