The cost of higher education in the U.S. today is ridiculous. Student debt shot north of $1 trillion earlier this year, for example. So it’s not surprising, then, that we’re seeing growing adoption of online learning platforms and tools. MOOCs, or massive online open courses, have been the stars of a new educational model, thanks to their potential to offer quality, affordable education at a scale that just wasn’t possible five years ago.
While some say that MOOCs will fundamentally change higher education and distance learning, others have see these platforms as having more of a supporting role, offering certificates or flair rather than diplomas. And that doesn’t really matter right now. The experimentation at this early stage is what’s important. To their credit, many universities have begun to support and/or develop MOOC platforms (like EdX), but probably not have taken such an active role in developing these new models as Stanford.