Are MOOCs, Bootcamps and Other Alternative Education Options Effective?

Kara Voght, U.S. News & World Report, Jul 22, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes
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According to this article, "A new study questions the quality of these programs, as well as the evidence that demonstrates their efficacy." When an article questions whether any form of online learning is "effective", the first question to ask is, "what do they mean by effective?" This is what I wondered on reading this article. I was disappointed, on multiple accounts. First, American Council on Education study cited in the article in no way resembles the coverage in this article. After gnashing my teeth I did some hunting and found a second article by the same authors published by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences which does cover the topic. But on a reading of the article I found nothing questioning their effectiveness (save the oft-repreted comment about MOOC completion rates), only an assertion that there is insufficient research on their quality. Both these reports - by researchers Jessie Brown and Martin Kurzweil - are quality reports. It's a shame the U.S. News & World Report treats them so disrespectfully.

 

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