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Higher Education Essay

2933 words - 12 pages

MOOCs as the Remedy for Higher Education

Abstract
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have recently developed into a popular topic of discussion in higher education forum. Undeniably there are a lot of problems existing in current mode of traditional higher education such as affordability, quality and flexibility. This paper will argue that MOOCs serve as a remedy to address the problems of higher education. 1) MOOCs are made to be affordable to every student who would like to learn, resolving the affordability of higher education; 2) MOOCs initiated interactive classes through various technological applications, to enhance the quality of class learning; 3) MOOCs allow for flexibility ...view middle of the document...

First, compared to rising tuition costs and high debt loads in traditional universities, many students who do not have enough money would rather turn to MOOCs for completion of a degree or credits, because MOOCs seem a much cheaper and feasible alternative. Second, as universities have more mass lectures to cut costs in response to decreasing public funding, the quality of education is undermined because the student interaction with faculty as a valuable college experience is compromised. As a result, students seek for more interactive courses from MOOCs instead. Lastly, the class time is usually fixed and it might seem rigid to the increasingly larger proportion of non-traditional students who might not be free to go to school during daytime. MOOCs provide with time and locational flexibility in terms of learning. Therefore, MOOCs do help redress some major problems of traditional higher education. Understanding how MOOCs complement traditional higher education is important because as college students, we could decide whether we would like to involve in MOOCs and how to make better use of technology to guide our learning and to seek for help through various channels. Moreover, it is also important for universities to decide whether they would like to implement MOOCs, and how MOOCs might be better implemented.

Address the Problem of Affordability
MOOCs help to alleviate the social disparity by providing cheap or free online courses to all, redressing high tuition costs in traditional universities forcing students trapped in heavy debts. Ideally, higher education is meant to be open for every member of the society. Thomas Jefferson in his “Report of the Commissioners for the University of Virginia” propounds that higher education should be available to every citizen such that they are instilled with important morals and equipped with necessary skills to survive well in the society (Jefferson). Only if higher education is made available to everyone, these informed and well-behaved citizens could construct the society in a harmonious and democratic way. The significance of higher education determines its characteristic as a public service. Every citizen in the country deserves a right to enter higher education.
Unfortunately, the current higher education is still far away from such democratic ideal, especially when it comes to financial restraints. In Declining By Degrees: Higher Education At Risk, we witnessed how Ceylon Hollis, the former student at Western Kentucky University, struggled between accomplishing the degree and paying tuition fees by being both a full-time student and full-time employee. She studies at day and works at night, never having a full six hours of sleep. As a result, Ceylon sometimes gets so tired that she misses class a lot. Despite this, Ceylon is still unable to pay back the full tuition fees: “Between her credit card debt and her loans, Ceylon could owe as much as $26,000 by graduation – if she graduates”...

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