http://chronicle.com/img/photos/biz/icons/worldwise-nameplate.gifBy Jason Lane and Kevin Kinser. We’ve been treated to a rash of stories about how new technological models for higher education raise questions about the viability of the traditional campus. After all, why invest in an elaborate physical plant when virtual education can effectively expand your reach exponentially?
This is of particular interest for global education and multinational universities, as the expense and difficulty of establishing foreign educational outposts may make virtual options seem even more attractive. At this point, though, it’s hard to see how massive open online courses, or MOOC’s, can be the silver bullet to developing globally engaged students or institutions.
To be clear and to set aside a straw-man argument, we don’t believe that MOOC’s were established with global engagement in mind. These entities are mostly about access.
However, they have become popular in overseas markets (for example, 61.5 percent of Coursera’s enrollments come from outside the United States). This development has led some to view MOOC’s as a possible alternative to other forms of global expansion, and to question the relevance of colleges’ establishing physical presences overseas. More...