http://s.huffpost.com/images/v/logos/bpage/impact.gif?31By . Politicians who saw MOOCs as a means to cut the cost of higher education are having to think again after two high-profile initiatives in California recently came to a crashing halt.
The more publicized trainwreck, though arguably the lesser significant of the two, was the partnership between San Jose State University and for-profit MOOC provider Udacity, initiated last January in a blaze of publicity by Udacity co-founder Sebastian Thrun and California governor Jerry Brown. The public-private agreement called for Udacity to support three remedial classes developed and run by professors at San Jose State.
The potential prize was big: The course fee was a mere $150 per student -- covered by foundation grants for the initial trial -- a fraction of the cost of a regular course. But when the results came in, the euphoria quickly evaporated. The passing rates were 29 percent, 44 percent and 51 percent, respectively, much lower than hoped for. As a result, the university and Udacity have announced that no further such courses would be offered until they had analyzed what went wrong. More...