Friday, April 3, 2015

Massive open online courses better depict student potential - The Pitt News Editorial Board

Students should be aware of the alternative resources available to them for free — such as massive open online courses (MOOCs) — because standardized tests just don’t tell the whole story. Open source textbooks have gained popularity in the growing market for free higher education materials, but MOOCs aim to boost students’ access to college in an even more pivotal way. One nonprofit consortium called EdX offers students video lectures and discussion forums to engage with one another. EdX’s MOOCs are a gateway for students of all income levels to prove their ability to excel in a college environment. Universities such as Harvard, MIT, the University of Texas and Caltech offer complete online versions of their prestigious classes — for free. Universities sometimes directly accept a student that excels in one of their MOOCs. “Given that we know how rigorous MITx classes are, seeing a student’s performance in that class can help calibrate us to their readiness for an MIT education,” says Stuart Schmill, MIT’s Dean of Admissions.

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