John Swope is the founder of curricu.me, an online MOOC aggregator that allows users to build and share custom curriculum with their students, employees and friends. His favorite MOOC is Dan Ariely’s “A Beginner’s Guide to Irrational Behavior,” and his personal blogtakes much inspiration from Ariely’s theories around irrational economics. You can follow him on Twitter @j_swope00.
In three years, massive open online courses (MOOCs) have taken online education into uncharted territory. MOOCs promise to bring educational content to anyone with a computer, and companies like Coursera and edX are gaining attention amid an environment of stubbornly high unemployment, prohibitively expensive education and a nationwide skills gap. But the value of a MOOC education is still not clear. Critics argue that the meteoric rise of MOOCs will eventually collapse under the weight of a few key weaknesses — namely, high attrition rates and a lack of participation from underprivileged students. These criticisms, however, ignore the market forces that led to the rise of MOOCs in the first place and will continue to support the movement going forward.