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More Clicks, Fewer Bricks: The Lecture Hall Is Obsolete

The BriefGet Up To Speed

Is the college of the future online? With the popularity of MOOCs (massive open online courses) and the availability of online degree programs at a fraction of their on-campus price, we are experiencing an exciting experiment in higher education. Does the traditional classroom stand a chance? Will online education be the great equalizer, or is a campus-based college experience still necessary?


Nothing has more potential to enable us to reimagine higher education than the massive open online course, or MOOC.

Saturday, January 26, 2013
Thomas Friedman

The substitution of technology (which is cheap) for labor (which is expensive) can vastly increase access to an elite-caliber education.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012
John Chubb and Terry Moe

Not all U.S. colleges and universities will disappear as a result of new technologies, but clearly some will. If higher education institutions embrace the status quo, they will no longer be in control of their own fate.

Monday, October 7, 2013
Henry Lucas

Not only will educational resources be more equally distributed, but also lower-skilled teachers will be winners from this technology.

Friday, January 17, 2014
Daron Acemoglu

A few ways that the trend of free online courses could significantly reshape the higher education landscape.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Danielle Kurtzleben

Ultimately, MOOCs are not by themselves a mechanism for development but require certain levels of education and technology.

Sunday, March 16, 2014
Gayle Christensen and Brandon Alcorn

Why will some of these MOOC start-ups die? It is hard to make sufficient money year-after-year from delivering instruction because teaching and learning, unlike automobiles and washing machines, are not subject to productivity and efficiency gains.

Monday, July 8, 2013
Larry Cuban

Even the founders of education start-ups say that online courses can’t replace the classroom experience.

Monday, December 16, 2013
Emma Green

Many professors recognize that online education is changing the landscape of academe. But faculty members at several colleges are making it clear that they will not be steamrolled.

Monday, May 6, 2013
Steve Kolowich

Online versions of college courses are attracting hundreds of thousands of students, millions of dollars in funding, and accolades from university administrators. Is this a fad, or is higher education about to get the overhaul it needs?

Thursday, September 27, 2012
Nicholas Carr

In one form or another, the online future is already here.

Sunday, March 31, 2013
Andrew Delbanco

Unlike the older distance-learning programs, which have been around for decades and are usually offered through individual colleges for credit, MOOCs may grant noncredit “certificates” or “verifications” that have questionable value.

Monday, March 17, 2014
John Wasik

Virtually everyone participating in this upheaval agrees on one thing. Colleges and universities will change — perhaps dramatically — but they will not disappear.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013
M. Mitchell Waldrop

Buried in all the hype about MOOCs is a somewhat surprising admission by some of the world's leading universities—that their teaching methods may not be very good.

Thursday, November 7, 2013
Jeffrey Young
Online Degrees

The Georgia Tech program is the first master's degree from a top-ranked university based on the technology that drives MOOCs. The only difference is it is not ‘open,’ or free, as a MOOC is traditionally defined.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Douglas Belkin

WGU-Washington — a nonprofit online university that has 6,000 full-time equivalent Washington students enrolled at this moment — is focused on competency to reduce the price of education.

Monday, March 17, 2014
Katherine Long

Richard Lyons, the dean of University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, has a dire forecast for business education: “Half of the business schools in this country could be out of business in 10 years—or five,” he says.

Friday, March 14, 2014
Patrick Clark

Online degrees still carry a stigma with some employers, but that’s quickly changing.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Devon Haynie
Are MOOCs Working?

As can happen in academia, early ambition faded when the first few assessments were returned, and, since then the open-online model appears to have earned an incomplete, at best.

Friday, February 28, 2014
Michael Guerriero

The world of "MOOCs" is, in the language of so many of those classes' adherents—being disrupted. And that disruption is coming from within.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Sean Cavanaugh
Report on Online Learning

The 11th annual report on the state of online learning in U.S. higher education. <a name="infographic" id="infographic"></a>Click <a title="Grade Change" href=" to see an infographic.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014
I. Elaine Allen and Jeff Seaman
Scholarly & Government Publications on MOOCs

Resources from Harvard as well as recent government publications and scholarly articles that explore the potential and effectiveness of MOOCs as well as their impact on traditional education methods.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Margaret Weigel

This discussion paper looks at whether MOOCs are economically sustainable for nonselective and highly selective postsecondary institutions.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Caroline Hoxby
Inside Higher Ed

Download a compilation of articles from Insider Higher Ed on the topics of MOOCs and online education.

Sunday, December 1, 2013
Inside Higher Ed
In the News

Richard C. Levin, who stepped down as president of Yale University in June, will next month become the chief executive of Coursera, a California-based provider of online academic courses.

Monday, March 24, 2014
Tamar Lewin