MOOCs viable for community colleges, officials say

Thursday, May 30, 2013

For all the efforts underway to make Massive Open Online Courses a major part of American higher education, only a few initiatives have targeted community colleges as a venue for them to reach and educate students.

In a webinar titled “MOOCs and the Completion Agenda: Lessons in Learning, Assessment and Application,” two California-based community college leaders offered unique visions on how MOOCs could help two-year institutions improve student learning experiences. The American Council on Education organized the webinar on Wednesday, which included Dr. Daphne Koller, the co-founder of the MOOC-platform giant Coursera.

Dr. Barbara Illowsky, professor of mathematics and statistics at De Anza College, told more than 350 webinar participants that in California MOOCs could help students prepare for and pass basic assessment exams in English, math and writing. Setting up a system that allows community college students to take basic subject MOOCs prior to their enrollment would likely result in thousands of them being able to place into higher level courses, she explained.

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