The lead story in Inside HigherEd focused on several community colleges that were experimenting with MOOCs to replace the need for offering traditional face-to-face developmental-level courses. [Click here for link to article] While experimentation with online delivery of developmntal-level courses dates back several decades, the stories features stories of community colleges developing MOOCs. Most of the attention about MOOCs has focused on large colleges and universities developing alliances with Courseara and others.
The surpirse to me is the modest funds being placed into the development of these MOOCs. There also seems pride in developing courses for the least cost. Several of the features colleges are using open educational resoucres such as Khan Academy to build their courses. Some of the courses have been developed by the instrituion, others received modest $50,000 grants from the Gates Foundation. I am old enough to remember when the Anneberg Foundation funded online courses development for PBS in the 1980s. Development costs for a single course might exceed $10 million or more.
Experimentation is a good thing. While I have great doubts about the efficacy of MOOCs (or any online instruction) to serve the needs of the least prepared students, I am even more worried to see the paucity of funding for their development. I hope the experiment does not turn into a disaster and results in lack of success for the most vulnerable of college students.