Why MOOCs Might Be Hindered by the Definition of Correspondence Education
7 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2013 Last revised: 20 Feb 2015
Date Written: January 28, 2013
MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) may be the future of education because they can be highly interactive, and can scale to serving millions of students. This scaling also allows them to be highly cost effective, which is also conducive to motivating continual improvement. But, with the high amount of interaction that MOOCs can bring, which is often greater than in-person lecture-based courses, an irony exists: Because MOOCs don’t necessarily have a lot of interaction with the instructor, as the instructor has often been pre-recorded, and cannot interact with each of the hundreds of thousands of students who enrolled, by Federal rules and definitions, MOOCs might be considered correspondence education. This is a detriment, because by Federal Title IV rules, schools cannot serve over 50% of its students through Correspondence Education, and retain Title IV eligibility to administer Federal Student Aid (FSA). This conundrum needs to be solved by either legislation, clarification in a Dear Colleague Letter, or waivers. Further the author discusses his belief that part of the broader problem can be solved by understanding education in 3 components: content, delivery, and evaluation. While these components are highly entangled, it also makes sense to look at each as an individual component of education.
Keywords: MOOcs, Massive Open Online Courses, Distance Education, Online Education, Correspondence Education, FSA, Federal Student Aid
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