The dust is settling on the MOOC debate. Is it here to stay? Is it just the latest flash-in-the-pan which will disappear once they hype has died down?
The Economist's writer thinks that on-line courses - including the latest incarnation of these, the MOOCs - won't kill mainstream degrees but that "MOOCs presage a period of great change in higher education".
Quoting from the first edition of MOOC Forum, the article makes clear that MOOCs have pervaded university level education: "An editorial explains that there are over 500 MOOCs being offered by
more than 100 well known, and accredited, university brands".
The issue of completion of a MOOC has been a criticism. The writer "E.L." makes a good case for this being immaterial in a rapidly changing world where the needs of the learner are so varied and not necessarily tied to paper qualifications.
The MOOC term, albeit hijacked from a much more grass roots approach (and more appealing - let us have more #change11 MOOCs!), seems to have been a catalyst for giving a tweak to distance learning in two dimensions - the number enrolled and the open access of it. These aspects allow the provider to monetize in a different way, usually by having those that want credit for the course pay for this.
MOOCs are here to stay - until a better term comes along.