MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) have already disrupted how individual institutions strategize their curriculum offerings and learning delivery options. But we believe that in the coming years the MOOC movement will also revolutionize how multiple institutions both within and outside academia will collaborate on “multi-sourced learning” programs.
Already there are early examples of such collaborations in which MOOC offerings from such consortia as Coursera, Udacity, and edX are being offered in certain subjects for credit at other institutions. In many cases, these are popular introductory courses which fill a need at the collaborating institution in which there are insufficient sections offered to meet the local student demand. But in the future, we see dramatically increased and innovative collaborations.
Here are some of the types of collaborations we expect to see:
External fulfillment of pre-requisite competencies via badge certifications
As budget cuts exert increasing pressure on section eliminations for course series, institutions will seek to provide alternatives for students wishing to satisfy pre-requisites on a timely basis in order to stay on their intended graduation schedule. MOOC offerings from other institutions, as well as self-paced online learning offerings from non-academic sources may offer certification of needed competencies and skills to satisfy certain such requisites. We believe that the MOOC concept of “badges” (digital certificates) will expand greatly to identify trusted sources and levels of competency and in doing so will eventually become accepted in such circumstances.
Education Abroad concurrent collaborative programs/degrees
Many institutions already offer Education Abroad programs in partnership with international institutions. Such programs are generally limited, however, with perhaps only a semester or year abroad. In the future we see significantly extended Education Abroad and Education Exchange programs, with even concurrent course enrollment in both institutions via online delivery infrastructure. We have already become involved in such discussion with countrywide educational systems in China and the United Arab Emirates to establish such collaborations with state and regional systems at our US institutions. We fully expect to see global collaboration in such concurrent exchange programs, perhaps even for the entire matriculation.
Workforce development collaborative academic-corporate programs/degrees
As the demands for workforce development increase, we expect to see substantially increased collaboration between academic institutions and corporate learning services, and in particular via MOOC-type online delivery modes. This is illustrated, for example, by the recent partnership between Georgia Tech and AT&T, in which a new “MOOP” (Massive Open Online Program) is being developed to offer a Master’s Degree in Computer Science at a greatly reduced cost. This program will allow full-time employees to simultaneously work toward an advanced degree. We expect such collaborations to increase greatly. We also expect corporate talent development programs to establish learning tracks that include both internal courses and externally sourced courses from both academic and other online sources.
At Governet, we intend to add corporate learning services clients to the Worldwide Curriculum Network in the near future, thus aggregating and integrating their courses and programs into the database shared by hundreds of higher education institutions currently subscribed to CurricUNET. We believe that this mutual ability to view one another’s curriculum offerings in detail will significantly facilitate such collaborative arrangements.
In summary, the MOOC movement and the advances in online learning delivery methods from both academic and corporate sources have greatly expanded learning options for students worldwide. This has progressively elevated the quality of such offerings from such sources. And in the coming years, we believe that there will be increasingly more numerous and innovative collaborations and partnerships within and between both academic and corporate learning sources.
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George Tamas, Geo Chronicles author, is recognized as a leading innovator in government and educational uses of technology, and particularly in the design and development of Web-based, multi-entity networks and databases. Since 2000, Mr. Tamas has served as Chief Executive Officer/Chairman of the Board of Governet, innovators of Web-based technology solutions for higher education and creators of CurricUNET, the award-winning curriculum management and reporting system. Mr. Tamas has more than three decades of experience in top management positions for computer software/service organizations ranging in size from start up to publicly traded companies with more than $150,000,000 in annual revenues. After receiving his degree in Mathematics from UCLA, he taught Mathematics and Computer Science for several years before starting his first company. He has since led multiple companies that engaged in such areas as technology management consulting, software development, networking, and outsourcing. Mr. Tamas has been a featured speaker at numerous state, national, and international conferences and is member of the esteemed Gilfus Advisors Network.