Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) holds a promise to expand educational reach to those with limited resources to pursue education in colleges and universities. Research has suggested some concerns for this education tool as the completion rates are low and those who access them already have substantial learning experience and prior education. Professor Jennifer M. Morton of City University of New York provides a perspective on how MOOCs can possibly influence and alter the dynamics of the current socio-economic class structure that traditional college education entails. According to her, college education is considered to be the first place where students with low-income families have to consistently engage with middle-class students and professors and navigate middle-class social norms. Moreover, in addition to cognitive skills like mathematical, scientific and historical knowledge, college education also imparts practical skills like social, emotional and behavioral competencies. But full adoption of MOOCs by large public universities can potentially harm the prospects of the students for whom college education is essential to elevate their status into middle-class. Online education may not provide them social and practical skills that are considered a necessity in highly competitive workplace environment. Tenacious, confident and socially competent employees have an edge over equally cognitively talented employees who lack practical skills. Professor Morton suggests that with extensive adoption of MOOCs by institutions that provide an environment to disadvantaged students to break the barrier of poverty and deprivation, the socio-economic segregation of the US educational system will further expand to the postsecondry level and widen the gap between haves and have-nots. When these students that lack social skills apply for employment with degrees they will more likely be considered lacking competencies by their prospective employers and unfit to effectively contribute to their organizations. Read on...
The Chronicle of Higher Education: Unequal Classrooms - What Online Education Cannot Teach
Title correction - "Perspective on Online Education"