The use of video is enabling online open courseware in higher education, creating a revolutionary trend in education – MOOCs. A Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is an online course that can be taken by a large number of students free of cost. Originally, MOOCs were unaccredited courses only offered to decrease the barriers to elite, high-level classes. However, some colleges and universities have begun to offer certificates of completion to attendees of MOOC classes that have successfully completed the course and paid a fee.
By giving professors and universities the unrestricted ability to record, store, and stream video, they are able to exponentially increase the number of students they reach, even those that are geographically distributed. This is a direct result of enabling face-to-face communication and multipoint video collaboration to deliver lessons to students via video. Since MOOCs are asynchronous and the course content is available online, students do not have to be centrally located near their college or university to “attend” class. MOOCs also enable students from other countries with limited educational opportunities to take courses at reputable higher education institutions.
The American Council on Education (ACE), the influential higher education association that represents the Presidents of U.S. accredited, degree-granting institutions, recently announced that it approved five Coursera courses for college credit recommendation. This opened the door for further accreditation of MOOCs, which could lead to significant benefits for students – both in the U.S. and abroad.
With ACE accreditation, many colleges and universities are expected to begin accepting credit transfers for MOOC courses as part of an enrolled student’s work towards an undergraduate or advanced degree. Even if that education establishment charges a fee for granting and transferring credits, the associated fee would be significantly less than the cost of taking the course in a brick and mortar classroom. Since MOOCs are offered online, they can also eliminate housing and travel costs that are associated with attending classes at a physical campus.
Through the use of VTC solutions to record, store, and stream video content on-demand, MOOCs have opened doors for students to access previously unattainable educational opportunities. The proliferation of these courses are also giving students more freedom, flexibility, and transparency when it comes to choosing their majors and fields of study, while improving their overall educational experience.
Video-on-Demand and video teleconferencing (VTC) solutions may have given rise to MOOCs, but the large number of benefits is what is driving their continued adoption in the field of education. By increasing the opportunity to receive a valuable education, while saving educational institutions money and ensuring that schools can hit their important performance metrics, MOOCs have cemented a future place for themselves in education.