The University of Texas at Austin is in negotiations with massive open online course (MOOC) providers Coursera and edX. The news of the negotiations was released at an Aug. 22 meeting of the University of Texas System Board of Regents, reported the Texas Tribune.
Despite accusations of high instances of plagiarism amongst students and low course completion rates, since they’re founding in fall 2011 both Coursera and edX, along with competing MOOC provider UDacity, have become the subject of media and academic fascination. The exponential growth of MOOCs has led some schools to reconsider their approach to online and distance education.
UT administrators are evaluating which on-campus courses are best suited to the MOOC environment and determining how best to maintain quality and retain control over the course offerings. UT’s concerns mirror those of some academics who wonder if it might be impossible for every course to be translated into a MOOC form.
Currently both the Coursera and edX curriculums are geared towards science, technology, engineering and mathematics classes—courses which are more linear and hierarchical in nature. However, Coursera has started offering more exploratory liberal arts classes in the coming academic year.
The Tribune also reports that UT officials see offering MOOCs as potential tools for student recruitment and increasing awareness of the UT brand.
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