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Duke: We Have No Incentive to Invest in MOOCs

Duke University does not believe in MOOCs at all.

“Elite universities have little incentive to invest resources in providing features that improve the quality and credibility of online courses. Furthermore, elite universities have no incentive to dilute the value of their product by helping to bridge the credibility gap between MOOC degrees and traditional four-year degrees,” this institution has written on its board news.

Duke is one of the first elite universities to publicly express its view against MOOCs –which edX, Coursera, FutureLearn and other consortiums promote. In 2012 Duke became one member of the initial cohort of twelve universities that partnered with Coursera to offer its courses online.

“Investments on MOOCs will most likely have to come from philanthropic and public-sector actors. Until then, MOOCs, while a boon for democratizing information, still have a long way to go before they actually fulfill their ambitious promise of providing affordable higher education to the digital masses.”

“One problem is that MOOCs and elite universities are in the business of offering fundamentally different experiences in terms of higher education. The most valuable products that elite institutions like Duke sell for over $70,000 a year are not high-quality courses but rather the prestige of the Duke brand as well as access to networks of other talented students, professors and elite employers. It is impossible to democratize access to these goods because their value depends on scarcity—on low student-to-faculty ratios, on interactions in exclusive clubs and Greek organizations, on single-digit admissions rates. MOOCs can provide world-class information and learning but democratizing education is not the same as democratizing opportunity.”

“While the stated mission of MOOC providers is to equalize education, their bottom-line driven partners have no such altruistic motives.”

 

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