Teachers College, Columbia University – MOOCs: Expectations and Reality
The Center for Benefit-Cost Studies of Education at Teachers College, Columbia University has published a study that serves as an exploration of the goals of institutions creating or adopting MOOCs and how these institutions define effectiveness of their MOOC initiatives. Academic Partnerships is featured in this study.
Purpose of the Study and Intended Audience
When Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence MOOC made headline news in 2011, one of the early predictions was that quality education at mass scale and at low cost was around the corner. Given our research center’s interest in the productivity of educational interventions, we have been watching for evidence that MOOCs are cost-effective in producing desirable educational outcomes compared to face-to-face experiences or other online interventions. While the MOOC phenomenon is not mature enough to afford conclusions on the question of long-term cost-effectiveness, this study serves as an exploration of the goals of institutions creating or adopting MOOCs and how these institutions define effectiveness of their MOOC initiatives. We assess the current evidence regarding whether and how these goals are being achieved and at what cost, and we review expectations regarding the role of MOOCs in education over the next five years.
We expect this report to be of interest to administrators, faculty members, and other instructors at colleges, universities, and other educating institutions who are wondering whether MOOCs can advance their missions and serve learners well; to researchers in the fields of educational technology and higher education who are contemplating what kinds of research questions might be useful to address; and to policymakers, investors, and funders considering whether MOOCs are a worthwhile investment of often limited resources for education.