In cooperation with Association of Corporate CounselBy Gary Attle. In this series of posts to be published jointly on our fusion and technology law update blogs, partner Greg Gibson and colleagues from our Technology Team explore some of the legal issues surrounding the rapid growth of MOOCs (massive open online courses).
The New York Times famously branded 2012 “The Year of the MOOC”, following the launch of edX, by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the rapid growth of other online course providers, such as Coursera and Udacity.
Despite the hype, distance learning is, of course, nothing new.  Students have learnt by the traditional “correspondence course” for centuries and the UK’s Open University has long been a pioneer of distance learning techniques.  Distance learning can also take many forms, as witnessed by the British Council’s innovative collaboration with Plan Ceibal for the remote teaching via videoconference of up to 4,800 English classes per week (http://www.britishcouncil.org/partner/track-record/ceibal-en-ingles).  What makes MOOCs different, and potentially disruptive for the traditional education model, is their sheer scale and reach and ability, if managed properly, to offer interactive learning opportunities to students “any place,any time”. More...