Contributing editor to The Chronicle of Higher Education and author of College (Un)Bound, Jeffrey J. Selingo follows in real time the stories of all the stake-holders in University of Virginia business professor Ed Hess's popular Grow to Greatness MOOC to distill for MOOC students (seven million and counting) what works, what doesn't, and what to expect next of the phenomenon that is massive open online courses.
When professors at top universities first began offering free online classes to the masses in 2012, the promise was that one day their experiment would revolutionize higher education forever by opening the doors to a first-class education for everyone. Since then, more than seven million students have signed up to take a massive open online course, or MOOC. But so far, MOOCs have failed to live up to the initial promises of their founders, with a vast majority of students failing to complete their courses. Lost in the rising chorus of emboldened MOOC critics are the expectations and experiences of the students who, in ever rising numbers, continue to sign up. What does a great MOOC look like, and why? Which MOOC students benefit the most? How do I get the greatest value out of taking a MOOC? To get answers, Jeffrey J. Selingo, contributing editor to The Chronicle of Higher Education and author of College (Un)Bound, embedded himself in University of Virginia business professor Ed Hess's Grow to Greatness MOOC. The result, MOOC U, is the real-time stories of the major players: students, professor, university, and MOOC provider. Written to answer the most pressing questions that MOOC students are asking, MOOC U chronicles how free online courses are changing how students learn, how professors teach, and how universities are rethinking what constitutes face-to-face education in the 21st Century.