Qualified students with college aspirations face a maze of tasks, deadlines, and paperwork that they must complete to access financial aid and a college education. Though the payoff for postsecondary education is large enough to justify the time and energy it takes to complete these tasks, many qualified students still fail to do so.
The current debate about higher education has reached an odd status quo: we’re questioning whether college is “worth it” at the same time that completing some form of postsecondary education is more important to economic success than ever before.
To fix higher education, conservatives must fight for root-and-branch reform by, for example, reinventing the student-loan program, offering new paths to accreditation, forcing higher-education institutions to disclose information on how their graduates fare in the labor market, and supporting occupational opportunities that provide the non-college-bound with real-world skills.
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are clearly not the solution to higher education’s problems—far from it. Instead, they are one tool among many that, if properly deployed, could improve postsecondary education. Lost in this polarizing debate is a clear-eyed look at the role MOOCs are well-suited to play.
Lost in the polarizing debate about massive open online courses (MOOCs) is a clear assessment of how this new medium is actually affecting postsecondary education, if at all, and how it could be useful in the future. The reality is, MOOCs are a tool, not a solution. And like any tool, they are likely to be more useful for some jobs than for others.