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Massive open online courses: A real threat to university learning and teaching?

Holloway, D.A. and Holloway, D.J. (2013) Massive open online courses: A real threat to university learning and teaching? In: Teaching and Learning Forum 2013: Design, develop, evaluate - The core of the learning environment, 7 - 8 February 2013, Murdoch University, Murdoch, W.A.


Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are a new and significant education initiative. MOOCs are online courses (units/subjects) provided free of charge with the pedagogical content prepared, and delivered, by the world's 'best' professors from the world's elite universities. They are a significant challenge for local universities. Why should domestic students learn from local academic faculty when they can learn (at no expense) from the world's best and most charismatic educational experts from the world's best universities? MOOCs are a real threat to those local universities that decide this is just 'another' educational technology fad that will have a short life cycle with no lasting impact on higher education.

We argue that this disruptive innovation (MOOCs) requires a pioneering response from universities. We suggest that the rise of MOOCs provides Australian universities with greater opportunities to attract prospective students by the delivery of sound educational courses which ensure the development of generic and specialist skills in a well-supported, systematised manner. Local universities can synthesise and integrate discipline-based learning provided by MOOCS with local pedagogical content delivery in an intensive small group environment. Local universities who use smaller face to face classes (in conjunction with MOOCs) will also be able to provide a dynamic educational experience for students and one that is immediately responsive to students' understanding of educational content. Local universities will also need to provide additional face to face services in terms of further initiatives in work integrated learning and employment services, to ensure that students will still continue to enter local higher education institutions.
Keywords: educational technology, disruptive innovation, small group learning, educational services

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Management and Governance
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