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The Source: Massive, Intelligent & Free: MOOCs And Education

edX is one MOOC provider along with Coursera.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) being offered for free by the nation's best universities were going to change everything about education. The most prestigious institutions in America threw open their doors to the masses. Millions of people poured in, taking everything from computer science to "The Greatest Unsolved Mysteries of the Universe." 

Enrolling on websites like edXand Coursera, some said it was the perfect combination of technology and education. Administrators looked on at cost saving potential. Teachers taught unchained from the size of their auditoriums. Hundreds of thousands enrolled, but only thousands finished.  

The hype was a let down and now the popularity tide has shifted a bit with words like failure being cast about. 2013 ended and took a lot of MOOCs shine with it. 

Did they fail, or just fail expectations?

Thousands of people completing a course is still thousands more than a single professor could teach in a semester, in several semesters for that matter.  So where are we now? What does the MOOC universe look like? Now that reality of the medium has set in, what can we expect?


  • Justin Reich (@bjfr) is the Richard L. Menschel HarvardX research fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.
  • Harrison Keller is the vice provost of higher education policy and research at The University of Texas at Austin.*

*The Source airs at 3 p.m. on KSTX 89.1 FM -- audio from this show will be posted by 5:30 p.m.

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Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org