Blog: The Educated Reporter

Follow-Up Friday: A Step Back for MOOCs in California

There’s been no shortage of buzz of the past year or so predicting the escalating impact of MOOCs — massive open online courses — on the delivery of higher education. That’s why the news out of San Jose State University this week is worth noting.

As Inside Higher Ed reported, the partnership between the university and Udacity, an online provider of higher education courses, has been put on hold after just six months due to disappointing performance by students enrolled in the pilot initiative.

Preston Rudy, vice president of the San Jose State chapter of the California Faculty Association, told Inside Higher Ed that “It’s wise to reevaluate and pursue something based on the evidence rather than the advertisement.” 

As I wrote back in August, venture capitalists are gambling heavily on new education technologies, including MOOCs. But there’s a difference between hype and measurable outcomes, and in many ways MOOCs are still in the incubator phase. Whether colleges and universities will have the patience to wait out the experiment — and allow their students to participate — remains to be seen.

For more on the future of MOOCs, check out veteran PBS education journalist John Merrow’s conversation with Khan Academy founder Sal Khan from EWA’s 66th National Seminar. You can watch the video here. Stream any session from National Seminar in your browser, or subscribe via RSS or iTunes