MOOCs could have big implications for K-12 learning

MOOCs-educationThe term “MOOCs”–an acronym for massive open online courses–is no stranger to the higher-education community. Providers such as Coursera, edX, and Udacity have helped to boost MOOC mania, with some courses boasting tens of thousands of participants.

Supporters point to MOOCS’ easy accessibility and potential cost savings for students and colleges alike, while critics note the courses’ low retention rates and potential impact on college faculty hiring practices. Some universities are exploring whether or not they can offer credit for MOOC participation.

While the higher-education MOOC debate continues, more and more ed-tech advocates are linking MOOCs with K-12 education. MOOCs hold great potential to expand K-12 hybrid, or blended, learning, and also offer potential to increase student access to courses that might not be available in their brick-and-mortar schools, such as expanded language or Advanced Placement classes.

As eSchool News first reported in June during ISTE 2013, MOOCs have many K-12 implications.

According to one of the most popular International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) 2013 conference speakers, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are on the verge of revolutionizing K-12 education.

MOOCs—often free and non-credited online courses taught by educators—are currently transforming higher education. [Visit our higher-education site, eCampus News, for more MOOC news.]

But soon, MOOCs will begin to change the way high school courses are taught as well, said Dr. Scott Garrigan, professor of practice for instructional design and technology and teacher education at Lehigh University’s College of Education, during an ISTE highlighted session, “How will the MOOC explosion affect K-12 schools and students?”

According to Garrigan, last summer (2012) high school teens completed more than 15,000 courses from Udacity, a MOOC platform.

(Take our poll on page 3. Next page: Teens and MOOCs)

Meris Stansbury

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