One of the common myths of college in America is that it has been an escape plan; a way of getting through enough books, exams, and late night stress in order to end up with a degree and a ticket into the upper middle class. However, in recent years, there has been a push to make this option even more widely available and affordable for youths who are seeking a way to pursue their education. This option is more easily found by providing students with for-profit courses over the internet. MOOC is the most popular term used for this option, a massive open online course.
The term was first used by Canadian researchers that were experimenting with different ways of structuring a class in 2008. They co-opted for branding when people realized that there might have been a pathway towards money behind it. The concept of using the internet for higher education isn't particularly need; many of the earlier uses came from university professors that were posting their own work. Many of the professors made their lecture slides, summary notes, and study guides available online because it was more convenient for reference. The only change is that with a severe funding issue, many colleges and universities are having preliminary partnerships with startups like edX, Udacity, and Coursera.
The true effectiveness of the MOOCs is not completely known. One of the most troubling facts is that they have a very high dropout rate which suggests that they may not be the best learning option for everyone. The Chronicle of Higher Education estimates that the general completion rate for most MOOCs is only at ten percent. There are no widely accepted surveys that detail how well students who have completed a MOOC are actually able to understand the material that they have been taught in the course. Most of the MOOCs are only able to provide a certificate of completion, which is of an uncertain value currently. It's unknown if these options are ever going to allow people to actually work towards getting their degree, which is necessary for most types of employment.
Although MOOCs may seem appealing to some, it's far different than the education that you could get from going to a standard college and enrolling in their online program. The coursework is not always reliable and many of the courses are not even moderated properly because there are students that are enrolled from around the world; students that are far more than just one instructor can manage on their own. This presents another problem because those who would like to ask questions to their instructor for further educational guidance cannot do so when they are dealing with an MOOC; there are simply too many students present in the classes to make it a relevant option. As a result, those who are considering an online education are recommended to get in contact with a local university or college in order to ensure that they are enrolling in online classes that can actually further their education.