Something we spoke about throughout the semester was online education and how it is changing how we do school. Professor Gus spoke about the idea that maybe we take our intro classes online and then we come to school to take the more intensive upper level classes. I definitely see this as a possibility, but I also see the possibility of the online education community becoming more of a marketplace to gain skills than to continuously learn about new subjects.
For example, last year I took a class on coursera about Software as a service using Ruby on Rails. I did not finish the class because I was too busy with schools and extra curricular’s outside of the school. That being said I have taken a class on Udacity and am very close to completing just have not taken the last step and taken the final. The main difference in my mind as a user of the services, is that on Udacity I can take my time with it, but with Coursera you have homework due dates, quizes, and finals. I understand why having a due date is important, but I think the system needs to begin to provide more flexibility Most people who will be using these services will also be working or in school at the same time. They have responsibilities and requirements that they need to fulfill on a weekly basis and those responsibilities must come before the Coursera and Udacity class. What these due dates do is restrict your ability to learn because you are trying to juggle everything that you are doing all at once.
Additionally, for those of us in school right now and have taken a class it is hard to point and say yea I took that class online because the question arises well why did you need to take the class online? Is there something lacking your degree or education that required you to take it online? Why did I not take a SaaS class at Michigan? Well they do not offer one, well does that mean that your education is behind or missing? These types of questions are hard to answer to employers and while I have gained skills using these services, I have not spoken about the services in an interview nor have I put it on my resume because I do not have the answers to those questions. Until issues like these are addressed and universities begin to understand where the free open online education fits within their payment model, I do not see the online services revolutionizing the education system, especially if they are relying on the education system for content like coursera does.