Can MOOCs be a successful alternative for community colleges?

By Matt Lawson, eCampus News

While that hype has not panned out, MOOCs did find a good foothold in our nation’s community colleges, where online classes provide scheduling flexibility for nontraditional students dealing with life demands; lower-cost options for students who need more cost-effective alternatives; or a stop-gap remedial solution for students needing help to fill in holes in their educational backgrounds. That last use case has proven to be a top priority for community colleges across the nation. When I was the Director of Enterprise Services for Virginia’s Community Colleges, improving student success was a cornerstone strategic goal for the community colleges. Community colleges face unique challenges with student success: in the U.S., at least 50 percent of entrants need at least one year of developmental education in order to be prepared for entry-level college courses. MOOCs offer the possibility of allowing students to improve their basic skills and test into college‐level courses without having to pay for remedial classes.

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