Good summary. But remember 'our government' in this case only means that which administers education in part of the UK. Writing as if free HE is condemned to history is defeatist! There are plenty of countries in which it is the current norm and there is a solid case for its return, funded on the basis of income tax. So should one presume that the only option for those of limited means is online open courses (of whichever flavour) ? Or is it possible to be more bold and envision a hybrid pedagogy that uses technology and media in appropriate and imaginative ways in combination with face-to-face, collaborative learning?
David Kernohan
Thanks Iain, you make an interesting and important range of points.

Jisc have historically pushed the idea of blended learning - research has consistently told us that a combination of online delivery and face-to-face support is one of the most effective ways to get the benefits from technology in education. But many people (eg Birkbeck College, The Open University, Leicester University...) have been offering purely online courses with a great deal of success - clearly the key is to meet each individual student with a range of opportunities that suit them.

MOOCs are great for some groups of (generally experienced) learners - but they are not a one-size-fits-all solution to education.
Mark Stimpfig
Hi David
Good to read your piece. We are working with groups of FE, secondary and content vendors and a number of HE practitioners to look at MOOC in a wider context of opening up the debate to students in the sixth form and FE colleges who are planning their future and the educators who influence them.
Like your copy we have called it 'Making Sense of MOOC' and we want to encourage an ongoing dialogue between Secondary, FE and HE as to how to improve quality, assessment criteria and look at positive ways of monetising all of this for the benefit of HE funding...
Please do have a look at the details on our web site and perhaps we can talk about how we can involve both you and JISC more?

Mr. Hogarth
I prefer the open classroom model. I spent a ton of time and money on a traditional education that I can literally throw in the garbage.

Everything that I currently do to pay my bills I learned online and through working collaboratively with other peers online.
OK Essay
I've just finished a Coursera course, and I found it awesome. What really sets it apart from a live classroom experience is that it's concise, to the point, no personal anecdotes, etc.... This I found refreshing. It was pretty tough due to the tight schedule and complex content (astronomy), but it was a great experience and I'm certainly one step forward in the field.

I'm not sure I would take an online course if I was already a student at a university, going to lectures every day. But it's a great way to learn (and spice up the boring working days by stimulating your brain) when you are in a life phase when going to uni all day long is not an option anymore.
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