May 10, 2014
The initial frenzy over the buzz-acronym MOOC, which stands for Massively Online Open Courses (or something like that), in which instead of students sitting in lecture halls at expensive colleges listening to lectures in person, they sit at home and watch videos of professors lecturing at even more expensive colleges, has died down somewhat. MOOCs turn out to have the same problems as correspondence courses have had for the last 100+ years or so. They are great for a handful of go-getters, but an awful lot of distance-learning students lose interest and don't finish.
So, here's my idea of how to improve online education: make it more expensive. Not only charge higher tuition so that student or their parents have some skin in the game, but make the first and last week of each term be residential. You go stay in a dorm for a week or a long weekend of orientation with the other students taking your class, meet the professor in person, hear the first lecture, get some indoctrination by the sales staff, and go to a bunch of parties. Then you go home and do the weekly work, then come back at the end of the term for a week of in person review, take the final in person (so no cheating), and then have a massive party.
I explained this idea to an online education investor and his eyes lit up, "It's like the only good parts of going away to college!"
By Steve Sailer on 5/10/2014