How would you like to take college classes online free of charge? There is a new wave of courses in higher education called MOOC’s, or massive open online courses. These classes are open to thousands of students, all around the world, for free. All you need is internet access. Of course, there are some schools that require fees that would need to be paid in order to receive credit, so it’s free, but still kind of not free. There are pro’s and con’s to offering these open online classes. Obviously, it is good to offer education to those around the world who have previously been discluded because they couldn’t afford it. This would allow anyone with an internet connection to have access to a college education. There are however some problems with these courses. One professor at Princeton, Mitchell Duneier, teaches a MOOC Sociology class that has 40,000 students enrolled. Yes, 40,000! Could you imagine trying to grade assignments for 40,000 students? Or having enough office hours to meet the needs of 40,000? For one person, there is simply not enough time to address every question from 40,000 students.
A system has been set up to deal with these problems. For questions on the discussion board, since there is no way the professor could answer every single question, the students can vote on which questions are more important to be answered. In addition, as far as grading goes, a system has been set up where assignments are graded by multiple peers and an average is taken for the final grade. But this poses some obvious problems. What if students do not take grading seriously? Or what if some students grade harsher than others? There are still some obvious problems with this system.
Since we are learning about design, I am curious to know what you guys think would be the best design for classes like this? How do you think the system can be improved? Do you think that these classes are going to be good or bad for the educational system?
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