GSB Pushes For Online Education

David Furlonger | Financial Mail | July 18, 2013

Even by the usual standard of acronyms, Mooc is particularly clumsy. But is this new buzzword the future of education?

Mooc stands for "massive open online course" - a Web-based, open-access education model that enables large-scale learning and interactive participation. In many cases, course content is free to anyone who registers; they pay only when they undertake a formal programme or seek a qualification. Some education providers, though, find ways to set the tills ringing immediately.

Moocs are not subject-exclusive. They are available across the higher education spectrum. In some countries, they have even begun to penetrate high schools. A 2011 Mooc launched by Stanford University, in the US, attracted about 160000 participants. Inevitably, the informal nature of Moocs means many people drop out of courses along the way but a growing number of institutions are introducing their own.

There is some resistance to Moocs in business education: market research in Europe this year found that most prospective business school students would not use a Mooc. Many companies would not recruit graduates who had only studied online. However, there was enough contrary support in both groups to suggest Moocs will gain ground.