Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) like the ones offered on Courera, edX, and Udacity are all the rage these days, and rightly so. In my opinion, MOOC is the most important innovation since the dawn of the internet age. For the first time ever, we can distribute quality Ivy League education content to everyone with a desire to learn..for free. What’s more amazing is that unlike other industries where incumbents are generally fighting against disruptive changes, the elite education institutions (i.e. Harvard, MIT, Stanford etc.) are actually leading the movement.
However, don’t mistaken MOOC as a platform that simply allows millions of people to watch lecture videos online. This is merely the first step, the first hour of the first day in God’s work. To get a glimpse of how technology can fundamentally change the way we learn, watch Conrad Wolfram’s TED talk here.
However, before MOOC gets there, there are still massive problems to solve. Currently, their immediate focus is on refining their core infrastructure. For example, how do we streamline the course production process to help reduce its launch time? How can grading be done effectively for assignments that doesn’t have a clear answer? How do we reach people in China when Youtube is blocked by the government? These are the problems that aren’t sexy to solve, but are mission critical elements that will make or break the user experience.