Penn Study: Glorious Utopian Future of Free Elite Online Education is a Bit of a Crock

MOOCs? More like pukes, amirite?

The New York Times reports on a Penn study showing that MOOCs—”massive” online courses provided cheaply or freely by elite universities—aren’t really democratizing education the way it had been hoped. Instead, they’re democratizing dropouts: Only 4 percent of users actually completed the courses.

The Times adds: “Much of the hope — and hype — surrounding MOOCs has focused on the promise of courses for students in poor countries with little access to higher education. But a separate survey from the University of Pennsylvania released last month found that about 80 percent of those taking the university’s MOOCs had already earned a degree of some kind.” So, you know, so much for that.


  • NateFried

    Just cause only 4 percent actually complete courses doesn’t mean its not a good idea. There are three flaws in this that could easily be fixed…1) increase awareness 2) Make it so that your grade record actually sticks with you to prevent people from just playing with it. and 3) Allow completion of all course credits to actually stand for something that could somehow be partially equivalent to a B.S. degree for someone’s resume.

    If you do these things… then people will consider it useful for spend the hours upon hours every week going over the courses, learning the material, acing the assignments because when they complete it… they actually have something to show for it.