The Question: Do MOOCs cost-effectively produce desirable educational outcomes compared to face-to-face and other online options?
The Study: Based on extensive research and interviews, The Centre for Benefit-Cost Studies of Education at Teacher’s College, Columbia University responded to key questions concerning MOOCs, including:
- What is a MOOC?
- How and why are institutions engaging with MOOCs?
- What are the resource requirements and costs of MOOCs?
- What data is available from MOOCs?
- Where are MOOCs going over the next five years?
The Answers: Among the analyses and conclusions are:
- Free, non-credit bearing MOOCs are likely to remain available only from the wealthiest institutions that can subsidize the costs from other sources of funds.
- MOOCs are falling far short of “democratizing” education and may, for now, be doing more to increase gaps in access to education than to diminish them.
- Based on cost analyses of MOOC production and delivery at four institutions, total cost estimates per MOOC were $39,000 to $325,300.
- Whether MOOCs, as they currently stand, persist into the future is certainly debatable, but there is no doubt that online and hybrid learning is here to stay and that MOOCs have catalyzed a shift in stance by some of the most strongly branded institutions in the United States and abroad.
The Report: The extensive and engrossing report, MOOCs: Expectations and Realities. The Full Report , is by Dr. Fiona Hollands and Dr. Devayani Tirthali at the Centre for Benefit-Cost Studies of Education, Teachers College, Columbia University, and was published in May 2014.