Investigate and Determine Appropriateness of Massive Open Online Courses

Resolution Number
Assigned to
Online Education Committee
Status Report

A breakout session on MOOCs was presented at the Fall 2013 Plenary Session. Additional information was also presented at the DE Task Force “Hot Topics in Distance Education” breakout session at the Spring 2014 Plenary Session, as well as in an article in the March Rostrum. There are no existing Academic Senate positions on the efficacy of MOOCs, and the task force found no need to recommend new Academic Senate positions at this time.

Whereas, Serious academic and proprietary concerns have been raised regarding massive open online courses (MOOCs) including:

  • MOOC lectures are “canned,” quizzes and tests are “automated,” students participation is “voluntary,” and students get “little” to no help from faculty;
  • In their current incarnation, MOOCs represent “teacher-less classrooms” that can undermine academic integrity and rigor;
  • The MOOC instructional paradigm appears to work best for a small portion of self-directed learners, as evident from the fact that only 5% of students complete courses and a much smaller subset that actually pass;
  • Mechanisms for awarding credit for MOOCs taken by students (including transferability issues), evaluation of student success and learning outcomes have not been determined.

Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges investigate massive open online courses (MOOCs) to provide guiding elements of good practice, research existing positions, and establish any necessary new positions regarding appropriate roles of MOOCs in California community colleges.