Massive open online course or MOOC, is a free online course with extremely large class sizes, where students individually participate in learning from a well-established professor via an online platform like Coursera. However, MOOCs aren’t like any other online course. MOOCs are designed to create a community with students and professors through online content like chat forums for example.
These non-credit courses have been gaining a lot of popularity since they are completely free. Although, some professor’s think these massive open online courses could have negative effects on funding to state universities.
Education is constantly evolving with new possibilities in online education. Many students and professors agree that online courses as well as MOOC courses can be very effective and efficient ways of learning. On the other hand some people think the best way to learn is in a physical classroom by a professor in real time. Both perspectives have their own pros and cons. Massive open online courses have brought a new argument to education. The debate deals with the possibility that MOOCs could decrease funding to state universities. The fear is that MOOC content could be used to teach or compliment physical classes at universities, which would save them money in return. This may not seem like a bad thing but it could very well give state legislatures a reason to cut funding to schools.
Mitchell Duneier, a sociologist at Princeton who is known for his previous involvement in MOOC courses, stopped teaching MOOCs just for that reason. He decided to stop teaching MOOCs after Coursera asked him if they could license his material for the use of other universities in the classroom. He believes very strongly that if MOOC classes continue to pursue this option, it will give state legislatures an excuse to cut funding. Duneier said he isn’t comfortable being part of a movement that will receive revenue in that manner. Also, he stated that he had his doubts that the material from his MOOC classes would be as effective in an actual classroom environment, as in comparison to the massive open online format. Only time will tell the direction of MOOC courses and their use in actual classrooms, but for now Duneier will remain out of the MOOC movement.