The rise of online learning!

Hot off the press: In an interview with the BBC, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has said that boring university lectures will be the first casualty in the rise of online learning! Just as massively multiplayer online gaming changed the playing field for computer games, so too will the rise of Massive Open Online Education (MOOC).

The idea of open online learning has been around for the last 20 years, but its uptake was slow. Now with the advent of high speed internet and smartphones, its uptake is gaining pace.

In addition to the requisite technology, some of the major players in world education have invested heavily in developing MOOCs.

edX is a collaboration between Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University hosting university level courses that are completely free!

Udacity is an offshoot of Stanford University’s free online computer science courses and Coursera is also linked to Stanford University’s top professors.

Get involved and check out the array of free courses that are on offer.

So what does this mean for universities and lecturers?

At this early stage it’s difficult to tell. Personally, I can’t see MOOCs taking over from traditional university based study. People naturally feel more comfortable with in-person tutelage and online courses can never replace the benefits that students get from the ‘university experience!’

It does however mean that university lecturers will need to step up their game! In addition to students learning through online resources, university lecturers should follow best practice by exploring some of the amazing online lectures that are available. Hopefully this new found competition will reinvigorate an industry that may have become stuck in its ways.

Have you tried out some online learning and want to share your experience of it?

Do you think that MOOCs will mean the end of traditional university education?

Get involved and let us know in the comments below

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