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Posted by on Jul 20, 2015 in E-learning, Higher Education, MOOCs | 5 comments

MOOCs a possible disruption of Higher Education?

MOOCs a possible disruption of Higher Education?

It was back in 2012 at the beginning of my academic career full of excitement; hope ambition and possibilities of a better future and transformed Higher Education space when I first heard of MOOCs. A colleague warned me that we would soon be out of jobs as MOOCs are taking over if we don’t reinvent and think smarter about our teaching in universities. I was very shocked by his statement and wondered with worry how can I be out of a job that I love so much when I have just started?

Since then I have learned that MOOCs are a fairly new addition to the available options of online learning and unlike what my colleague suggested MOOCs will certainly not replace me and definitely nor will it replace the need for Higher Education (HE) institutions but rather provide the opportunity to deliver education world wide and also offer academics like me the chance to describe and discuss our academic research papers at an unprecedented scale.

MOOCs as I understand them are primarily based on the idea of extending and increasing online learning. On the other hand some MOOCs are founded on philanthropic principles while others see MOOCs as another business model with the potential to increase profits for universities or individual entrepreneurs. For example as a business model MOOCs have triggered commercial interest from capitalists and other major corporations who want to enter the HE landscape using a MOOC approach.

One premise that is certain is that MOOCs have disrupted the way we think about HE and the Open University in the UK for example seeks to benefit from this ‘disruption’, hence they have brought together a number of free, open, online courses from leading UK universities for learners around the world. It is important to note that MOOCs have specifically created a space for discussions about the transformation of HE through its disruptive potential and have urged traditional HE institutions to re-think education, learning and online learning as strategic choices for the future.



  1. Great read Memory. I would like you to expand on the “disruption” statement. How do you see the emergence of MOOCs as a disruption.

    • Hi Martha, thanks for your question what I meant by disruption is that MOOCs have made us to re-thimk HE, and hence think critically about what is it that we are doing in traditional HE institutions and possibly a disruption also provides an opportunity for us to drastically alter they way we teach and learn for better students and ultimately informed citizens. So MOOCs as a disruption here does not necessarily mean to destroy the education stucture completely, but to imagine education in a very different way from the traditional way, an improved and empowering way of doing education.

  2. Excellent read Memory. We definitely will not be out of jobs, as long as we keep up with the changes. Many people use the word transformation to mean different things, what do you mean when you reference to transforming Higher Education?

  3. Hey David I realise that ‘transformation’ is quite a loaded term, isn’t it? To be brief transforming HE refers to institutions of higher learning that are teach more relevant curriculum rather than the same views and perspectives that were taught in 18th century somewhere in Europe. A transforming HE is mindful and seeks to highlight multiple experiences and knowledge systems. It acknowledges that Western knowledge systems for instance are not superior to other forms of understanding the world. A transforming HE also seeks to cater for the educational needs of students from different backgrounds.

  4. MOOC’s is a ‘different’ way of teaching and can lead to creativity. Any person that can think it can take over education does not understand the role/ purpose of MOOC’s.

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