Can MOOCs Democratize Education?

Here is a bit from a recent post of mine on the EdSocialMedia blog called Will the Online-Education Craze Will Leave Many Students Behind

One positive indirect outcome is the potential for MOOCs to ease the burden on community colleges. As budget crises plague states throughout the country, community colleges have taken a huge hit. At the same time, enrollment demand at these institutions has increased. The problem grew so severe for California that in 2009-10 the state turned away 140,000 prospective students. There seems to be a real possibility here that continuing education/job skills/hobbyist community college students (ie. the “organized and highly motivated” students Rooks mentions above) could move to MOOCs. According to the American Association of Community Colleges, noncredit earning students make up nearly 40 percent of enrollment (5 million students). If MOOCs go mainstream then this could ease the burden on community colleges and open up seats for underserved students. Of course, community colleges would need to shift their budgets and staffing away from these non-credit courses, but funds could then be allocated toward credit earning students and those who need (or prefer) the traditional classroom model.

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