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MIT Prof argues that Higher Ed Online Learning is Misguided

CJ Westerberg, November 6, 2014 5:56 PM


photo: Avatar

"Each year, 600,000 first-year college students take calculus;
250,000 fail.
At $2000/failed-course, that is half-a-billion dollars.

-MIT Professor Woodie Flowers

From Chris Dixon's blog:

As elegantly produced as movies
as engaging as great novels

"As elegantly produced as movies and as engaging as great novels MIT professor Woodie Flowers argues that higher education's current approach to online learning is misguided:

We decided to assume that the world could hardly wait to see our huge pile of PDFs, PowerPoint presentations, classroom locations, teaching assistant lists, and other assorted bits of information about our courses.

Instead, universities should produce new learning materials specifically for the online world:

In their highly developed form, learning materials would be as elegantly produced as movies and video games and would be as engaging as a great novel. They would be 'smart' to both accommodate the learners' varied styles and yield data to facilitate their continuous improvement.

Each year, 600,000 first-year college students take calculus; 250,000 fail. At $2000/failed-course, that is half-a-billion dollars. That happens to be the approximate cost of the movie Avatar, a movie that took a thousand people four years to make. Many of those involved in the movie were the best in their field. The present worth of losses of $500 million/year, especially at current discount rates, is an enormous number . . . . even a $100 million investment could cut the calculus failure rate in half.

Online courses are to offline courses as movies are to plays. The marginal cost of
delivering online courses is minimal. The potential audience is everyone with a
smartphones and an internet connection - about 1.5 billion people today and growing quickly. There is no reason we shouldn't be investing as much to produce online
courses as we do to produce Hollywood movies.
  • Buzzing Corner

    Online courses offers education to remote place. Harvard Online, Stanford online & Edx are providing online education worldwide. Education is no more confide to a single state, country.By online platforms and education provider It has now become a World Education. http://buzzingcorner.com/ta... Various course provider and various free educational content to learn and get enlightened.

  • I think it is the most reliable information for student for their academics .I have something for students It is the most reliable and authentic assignment help review platform where students come to share feedback on assignment writing service provider websites.
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  • disruptive

    I know that online courses can have issues with competition - probably the same as just about any course online or even reading a book. These days getting people to remain on the online course is part of the challenge. The courses you can browse on http://www.jelt.com are much more sophisticated and engaging than just a few years back.

  • There is no point of disagree of this types of phenomenal innovation in terms of showing the guts to the world in better way. Whatever the situation everyone has the chances to make the proper way out to do well in every possible way. Mit needless to say one of the best ever since the inceptions. Therefore major guidelines and researches are the best way out to make the prospects in general. Good work for all.

  • I agree. Spend more money on effective online learning resources, especially for the knowledge and comprehension-level learning outcomes. Save face-to-face experiences for higher-order topics and for learners who might need more support. Make cost associated with the actual cost to provide these experiences, which, for many can be (or approximate) free.

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