Many self-motivated students—in particular, those who embrace new technologies—have been taking advantage of massively open online courses (a.k.a. MOOCs).
MOOCs represent an opportunity to gain college-level knowledge without the high cost associated with most college courses. However, they also have some drawbacks. Specifically, most do not directly award college credits. Also, as a rule, they have extremely poor pass rates (with no real prerequisites for enrollment, and no financial commitment, this makes sense).
So, what’s new in the world of MOOCs?
Second, a group of public universities has teamed up to offer introductory courses for their online degree programs for free. A student who successfully completes one of these courses will receive an invitation to enroll in the related program.
Finally, a group of leaders in the MOOC field recently proposed a “Bill of Rights” for students in online courses. Specific rights include knowledge of the provider’s business model, knowledge of how one’s personal info would be used, and ownership of any work one might produce.