MOOCs and books

Are Massive Online Courses (MOOCs) changing the university classroom for better or for worse?  

Could we say that the MOOC is to the university what the Kindle is to the book? Or what the TV was to the radio? This is not after all, the first time the arrival of something new has brought about discussion on the threat of the traditional. Both the radio and the book, however, are still faring fairly well in our modern, televised reality, despite the dismal prediction that once were made.

I see MOOCs becoming an addition to the traditional university, not its replacement. In this regard, therefore, it can change the classroom for the better. Online courses can supplement and improve instruction, but I doubt it can ever take the place of the traditional university altogether. Anath Argawal (2013) claims that healthcare and transportation has gone through transformative changes, while education remains the same. I disagree with his view. Yes, healthcare has changed through discoveries such as the X-ray machine, nano-technological surgery, and electromagnetic measurements…but we still talk to a doctor, don’t we? We still need human hands to control, explain, and analyze. Similarly, we might be driving cars instead of carriages, but there’s still a human behind the steering wheel/reigns. New technology has the potential of improving efficiency and access greatly, but I see it as enhancers of a human system. Will the professor become obsolete? Will the classroom disappear? I refuse to believe that, at least not until the doctors and their offices disappear as well.

References:

Agarwal, A. (Jun 2013). Why Massive Open Online Courses (Still) Matter [Video]. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/anant_agarwal_why_massively_open_online_courses_ still_matter#

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