Recently, a new form of education has appeared. MIT, Harvard, and Stanford created MOOCs, which are “Massive Open Online Courses”. This type of learning is delivered electronically to a massive audience via the Internet. With the hope to make education accessible to everyone, these courses are run for free online. People can simply sign up and start learning.
When Stephen Downes, one of the forefather’s of MOOCs, thought of online courses, he wanted to “to make education available to people who cannot afford to pay the cost to travel to and attend these small in-person events”. Massive open online courses were meant to help bring affordable education to the world. However, this has not been accomplished.
A recent study from the University of Pennsylvania suggests that 80 percent of MOOC students already have a College Degree and 44 percent have some graduate education. This clearly elicits the fact that the poor are not being helped with this innovative, potentially life-changing education.
First of all, society could educate the poor communities about MOOCs and their benefits. If people know how to utilize and gain education for free, they will be much more likely to take advantage of these free courses.
Furthermore, families, who do not have access to the Internet, could share computers to learn together with online courses. Public libraries would be ideal places to set up MOOC viewings. The only things required to make this possible would be a room with Internet and a computer.
MOOCs have a lot of potential, but they are not being used effectively. With these simple steps to make people aware of the existence of free online courses, education can spread to nearly everyone. High-class universities, such as the University of Chicago and Yale University, could potentially help and teach thousands, even millions of people around the world.