UQ weighs the pros and cons of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

17 March 2015

The 2015 Global Leadership Series began this past February at the University of Queensland, kicking off with Emeritus Professor Roly Sussex OAM discussing the benefits of learning through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).
Over a quarter of a million people—nearly five times the University’s current regular enrolment—from more than 250 countries have enrolled in a range of MOOCs offered by UQx, covering topics from English Grammar to Criminal Justice to Medical Imaging.
Course content, exercises and assessments are delivered online, some over a set number of weeks with a set number of ‘contact hours’, others with a more casual, self-paced timeframe.
The most exceptional part of UQx MOOCs? They’re entirely free, available to anyone, anywhere.

UQ Professor Sussex discussed the game changing benefits of MOOCs, suggesting that it was an ethical obligation of the world’s leading educational institutions to share knowledge with everybody, regardless of their ability to actually attend a university.
He suggested MOOCs had changed the higher education game in every way, from its open entry to its content delivery via the web, to the qualifications participants exit the courses with; however, Professor Sussex questioned whether MOOCs posed a threat to the traditional value of teaching, discussing how universities had protected the concept of a degree for a thousand years.
Ultimately, he concluded that MOOCs were highly beneficial to the universities that provide them, suggesting that the global recognition associated with the programs was likely to attract high-quality international talent which would more than offset the high cost (and potential disadvantages) of establishing and maintaining a MOOC program.

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