Some views are strongly supporting MOOC’s and the value thereof whilst others are against this and very skeptical that it can be beneficial for Higher Education in South Africa.
There are people that see this as a ‘disruptive technological development’ but then also see it as a possible answer to address the challenges for the first 21st century’s education. There is so much confusing views because of the lack of sufficient research in this field, especially in South Africa.
This will be to the advantage of South Africa to be effectively part of and interact with the global world through education. It will be valuable for the workplace. MOOC’s involve people that would have been excluded because it ‘brings’ the classroom to the student. MOOCs has a wonderful opportunity to extend the teaching and learning experiences of many people.
A threat is that the courses will not be acknowledged by the workplace and it will be disheartening for students if they only find this out after they have completed a course. Quality assurances mechanisms should be put in place. MOOC’s will have to look at aspects like certification.
Another threat is that it leads to unequal education in the world because poorer countries like South Africa has a disadvantage that many people cannot access technology. Many of these people will be unsuccessful in completing these courses because of the mode of delivery. Self-motivation plays a very important role. The circumstances that many people live under in South Africa will be a threat for their studies, for example, no support from family and friends, poverty, etc.
One of the pitfalls are that students are not prepared for this way of studying and it is an opportunity for MOOC’s is to offer a course that prepares prospective students for this way of studying. When one look at what happened in 2008: 2, 200 students enrolled but only 150 participated actively. This is also observed in this course. There are only a few people that interact actively. Is the reason that it is for free and people feel less motivated to participate? What are the other factors that play a role?
I don’t think that it serves a threat to Higher Education. It can be a valuable contributor to Higher Education but it is evident that MOOC’s will have to do research on many things like why the completion rate is so low and how will certification change the role that it plays?
Posted by Wilma De Villiers
MOOCs – Panacea or benevolent curse? (Adam Habib (Wits) & Christine Woods) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massive_open_online_course