Online Learning and the MOOC in Pre-college

The MOOC has not had very wide usage in secondary schools in the U.S. for a variety of reasons. Acually, online learning in general has not made significant inroads into the pre-college educational segment. 

A recent issue of the studentPOLL, published by the standardized test provider ACT and the consulting firm Art & Science Group, suggests that incoming college students still believe they will pursue higher education by attending most of their courses in person.


My own observation, somewhat contrary to this report, is that there are two uses of online learning - specifically MOOCs - in the pre-college population. One is by students who are self-motivated and want to explore college-level subjects. Second, is use by teachers looking to see what colleges are doing with subjects they teach. That is especially true of computer science, physics and other STEM subjects where teacher may feel a need to update their own learning, and also find materials that they can use in their own classes.

That poll showed that most college-bound high school students are concerned about the quality of online education, although a small percentage are open to the idea of taking some of their courses online. 85 percent of respondents said they wanted to take a majority of their courses in person. Only 6 percent said they were open to the idea of taking half, most or all of them online. About one-third (37 percent) said they could see themselves taking a handful of online courses. (9 percent were undecided.)

What does this mean for colleges that offer fully online programs? Well, they are not going to appeal to most freshman.

Online learning takes some geting used to, both as a student and as a teacher. Perhaps, pre-college programs should use online learning as it is used for many college courses - as a tools to augment face-to-face courses.



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