In this excellent article in the New Yorker by Nathan Heller, you can read in detail all about MOOCs, and decide for yourself whether or not they represent the future of education. One of the most interesting aspects of the article is the reluctance of much of the established academic community to embrace open online education. This is an unknown brave new world, with scary horizons. Education for free? What are professors supposed to live on? Book royalties?
After all, what is the point of universities if education is given away for nothing? Certainly, for my subject, Animation and visual effects, there is no substitute for the kind of one-on-one feedback that helps a student practice their skills and raise their game. That's why here at Bucks we believe in blended learning, a mixture of online lectures and tutorials combined with personal classroom tuition, so that our students do the homework in class, under the guidance of expert tutors.
By combining online delivery of lectures with personal feedback and tutorials, we can combine the best of both worlds; the cost savings that come from putting lectures on the web, with the essential feedback and support that comes from knowing your tutor and getting personal help and feedback.
MOOCs will certainly change the world - but traditional classroom study isn't dead yet.
(Editor's Note: For more on MOOCs, see our article dated 6th April 2013 here)