I recently had the distinct pleasure of speaking with Charles Severance, or "Dr. Chuck," as his students call him, a clinical associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Information. Severance taught one of the first MOOCs for Coursera, titled "Internet History and Security," and he has an intimate understanding of the practical nature of online courses and how they may appeal more broadly than a traditional education.
According to Severance, one of the critical benefits of MOOCs is that students can continue with their careers while they learn, and they can take as many or as few classes as they want or need. In the end, career development and intellectual growth become faster and more efficient.
Massive online learning is on a crucial upward trajectory that is leading the way to a much wider transformation in education. In the coming months and years, it will be interesting to gauge just how quickly and completely MOOCs disrupt the educational landscape and are embraced by a wider audience.
One thing is certain, though. For those interested in the convergence of higher education and technology, understanding MOOCs is key.
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