News Home
Quick Bites
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
On AirNewsClassical
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Greater Akron Chamber

Meaden & Moore

Levin Furniture

For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )

Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us

MOOCS and the future of technology in higher hducation
Ohio State University recently signed on to give some MOOCS of their own

Ida Lieszkovszky

On-line education is nothing new for colleges and universities. It’s been a way for colleges to open their campuses and generate revenue. But over the past 12 months more and more colleges have started to open up their on-line offerings to anyone, and for nothing – no charge. StateImpact Ohio’s Ida Lieszkovszky has this story about what many are calling the year of the MOOC (Mook).

Lieszkovszky on MOOC

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (4:27)

MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course.

“I hate the acronym actually so you can quote me on that one.”

Wayne Carlson is the Dean of Students at Ohio State University. And although he’s not a fan of the acronym, he is pretty excited about the technology. MOOC basically refers to classes that are put online, available to anyone in the world. They don’t count for credit, but they are free.

Ohio State just teamed up with Coursera, a tech company that is one of the biggest MOOC providers, an effort headed by Carlson.

“MOOC and the emerging technology are really transformational. They have the ability to really disrupt the way we do our business. And as a business, if we don’t pay attention to those disruptive processes we’re going to lose in the long run.”

Disruptive because many in the higher ed community worry that unless they’re careful, universities will go the way of newspapers and the music industry: give their product away for free online and lose customers in the process.

“There really is no business model present in these MOOC’s yet because nobody is charging anything. There is no revenue to split.”

While the content and lectures are traditional, the learning process is not. 

Sometimes MOOC courses give tests, but often there is no assessment of what a student learns. Often tens of thousands of students start a course, but many don’t finish.

At COSI, the science museum in Columbus, OSU Pharmacy professor Nicole Kwiek is worried about all that big picture stuff, but she’s more nervous about gearing up to teach her own massive open online course next summer.

“I’m excited to see and adapt my content knowledge to this huge audience and people who have never been able to take a pharmacology class in their lives or may not see the potential of science in their own lives or why it’s important now may see an application on why it’s important and say ‘huh, now I understand.’”

Kweik works in the Generation Rx lab at COSI, which teaches visitors about the potential dangers of prescription drugs. Her class will be about the same thing.

 “…we have an experiment where they have to figure out what gave Bobby heart burn…”

Kweik’s class won’t start for another 7 months, but she’s already getting emails from potential students as far away as New Zealand and Arizona.

But using technology in college classrooms is nothing new.

Back on the Ohio State campus, chemistry professor Matthew Stoltzfus, aka Dr. Fus (FOOS) is quizzing his students on last night’s lecture.

Stolzfus has been using what’s called the inverted classroom model for a couple years now. Inverted classes are ones in which students watch lectures at home, and do homework in class. Stolzfus posts his lectures online, and spends classroom time answering questions and helping students workout problems.

Freshman Adam Bross admits he doesn’t watch every lecture.

“Not all of them. But a good amount. It’s hard to find time and willpower and watch every single one. Like earlier in the year I watched less, now I try to watch more now that I don’t know it.”

Stoltzfus knows that, but it doesn’t bother him.

“Everybody thinks videos are going to ruin education. Well I would point across the street here to the chemistry library across the street, we have book on books on books on all of these chemistry topics. The content was out there before; we’re just putting it in a different format.”

Dartmouth professor and higher ed blogger Joshua Kim has been monitoring the MOOC movement for a while.

He says MOOC’s have a lot of promise, but he’s full of reservations.

“I do not think that MOOC’s will be the solution to the very real issues and problems of rising costs, unequal quality and limited access to higher education. MOOC’s might be part of the solution but they are not the solution. So I worry that they are being overhyped and oversold.”

MOOC’s sound great. But even its biggest cheerleaders have concerns.

Here’s Wayne Carlson of Ohio State again.

“It’s a very utopian world where you want knowledge for knowledge sake.”

But the problem with utopian ideas?

“They don’t scale to the real world.”

Employers want to see how you did in that course, universities want to make money, students want to get credit for the classes they take, and professors don’t want to see their jobs outsourced to computers.

Add Your Comment


E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook

Stories with Recent Comments

Charter reform bill includes controversial change for some teachers
I work for a former White Hat charter school; it was sold to another (for-profit) company this past summer and we were told that they would not pay into STRS/PE...

Bhutanese resettlement has had a big economic impact
Informative especially for nonmembers of North Hill. I appreciate the fact that you mention that the younger generation has an easier time than the elders but t...

Ottawa County Commissioner sworn in as new house member
Congratulations on your new appointment to the Ohio House. I'm certain you will do an outstanding job in your new role representing our district. When you have...

Holden Arboretum opens a new canopy walk and emergent tower
Visited the Holden Arboretum today to witness the incredible work you did constructing the tower and bridges.WOW! Very impressed. Knew the build had to be great...

Local club works to bring back the once-prevalent American elm
I would love to help! Where would I get some of the new Strain so I could plant them?

Four Geauga school districts consider consolidating on the Kent State campus
Berkshire was smart to merge with Ledgemont because it had shrinking enrollment and excess capacity at its high school. Now that Cardinal is dragging its feet ...

Ohio Rep. John Boccieri sworn into office and hopes to look for 'middle ground' with colleagues
Welcome back to the Statehouse, John. You are a terrific representative in the truest sense always representing the people's voice in teh district you serve. ...

Lawmakers call for indefinite freeze on Green Energy standards
It's a shame the Hudson Rep. Chooses to mimic the words of the extreme right senator on his way out to join ALEC when we know the Pope was just here because of...

Youngstown Schools file suit against the Ohio Department of Education to stop the implementation of an academic distress commission
Voters should ask WHY this plan was rushed into law under the cover of darkness. What clues point to the beneficiaries of this plan? Both Patrick O'Donnell of...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University