In our group work for topic four we have worked on a real case scenario by advising a client on the development of a MOOC (we-need-your-help-will-we-get-hired-topic-4).
In the last few weeks, a possibly important aspect of open education has occurred to me out of an ongoing public discussion in Switzerland:
due to the shortage of skilled workers (skilled-worker-shortage-worsens-in-switzerland), there is a discussion in the media and at the political level about the fact that too many academics work part-time and thus give too little back to society (by workforce, taxes) after an expensive, subsidised course of study (die-studenten-vergeuden-ihre-zeit).
I work part time myself and am convinced that it is a necessity these days (especially, if you want to motivate more parents to work while raising a family).
Can open (online) education, e.g. with MOOCs be a chance here, when
a) through synergies (reduced development and supervision costs), education costs could be reduced, thus financed with less tax money?
b) more people can benefit from higher education (access for different social classes and minorities)?
Or is it, on the other hand, even less accessible for underprivileged students because of the requirements to participate
(availability of hard- and software, digital literacy, missing supportive social network etc.)?
Is our school system ready to prepare primary school pupils for online higher education?
I am aware that open education is not necessarily cheaper and more accessible, but I think the potential is huge. And this is only one (social and economic) aspect that would speak for increasing open education and eliminating possible obstacles.
What do you think – are there similar experiences in other countries?
December 10, 2022 — 6:58 pm
Absolutely – I see MOOCs (and online educaiton) as a way to make education available “on your terms” – so you can work and adapt your learning to your own schedule. But then it has to be “engaging” enough to do this on your own time. And this is the difficult step. Really like this reflection – as it also discusses the learning and the future of learning in society. I think for youngsters you need to meet people your own age and socialize in person – In Sweden – what you talk about in the “breaks” are sometimes more important than what is said on the “lecture”.- but we should also slowly have “some” on-line presence. And at some point – when family, work, and you already have a social life – I agree – this is a great option!
December 16, 2022 — 9:28 pm
What an interesting thought Karin! This is definitely one step in a puzzle to lower governmental investment for education, costs that seem to have a low or no ROI. I do however think that the question of costs in some sense is a zero-sum game. The costs for developing a MOOC have to come from somewhere, I think that part of the idea of openness here is an underlying assumption that if we all transition to more freely and easily accessible education that the costs do not disappear but they are moved. If I remember correctly it was in the book about openness from topic 2 (Wenger, 2020) where they listed some costs involved in developing free open learning objects (that were not MOOCs) and that was in the realm of millions of dollars. So maybe MOOCs and OER will not completely take away the cost of education, but it can possibly lower it, especially in underprivileged contexts.