Online Learning Update

August 31, 2012

Open Online Learning: The MOOC-Led Meritocracy

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:05 am

By Kevin Carey, Chronicle of Higher Education

The difference comes down to risk and money. Society invests a lot of money in traditional institutions, and going to college is a high-stakes affair. Students who graduate enter a far more hospitable job market, while dropouts represent large amounts of wasted resources, public and private, along with, increasingly, unmanageable debt. MOOC’s, by contrast, aren’t publicly supported and risk nothing but their students’ time. A free, low-stakes, open-access system has far more license to operate as a pure meritocracy. That meritocracy will serve as a powerful mechanism for signaling quality to an uncertain labor market. Traditional colleges rely mostly on generalized institutional reputations and, in a minority of cases, admissions selectivity to demonstrate what graduates know and can do. The opacity of most collegiate learning processes (see again, lack of standards) and the eroding force of grade inflation have left little other useful information.

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