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“What are the essential components of a good quality education in a university?” the Department of Philosophy at San Jose State University asked Harvard professor Michael Sandel, the instructor for the free online course JusticeX. The department's open letter to Sandel culminated a few years in which massive open online courses, or MOOCs, were rapidly developed. Designed to solve the problem of educating the world, MOOCs offer free enrollment, video lectures, and online assignments; many offer certificates for a small fee or license their content to brick-and-mortar academic institutions. However, when the State of California considered constraints in its educational offerings and budget—proposing that MOOCs be accepted as college credit—the Department of Philosophy at San Jose State questioned whether MOOCs could and should substitute for classroom education.
This background note surveys the rise of industry leaders Coursera, Udacity, and EdX; outlines common MOOC business models; and provides context for the San Jose State open letter. Readers will find themselves prepared to adopt the position of a stakeholder and negotiate best practices for online education.
Legal education, online education, distance learning, academic technology, public education
Geographic: United States
Industry: Education, Technology
Event Start Date: 2011
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