Massive open online courses or MOOCs were predicted to achieve world domination and completely transformation of higher education. Today, these predictions are seen to have been overblown. But with several years of experience now behind them, MOOC providers and users are adjusting both their perceptions about online learning and the courses themselves. Mainly based on empirical research articles and reports and interviews with K-MOOC providers, this paper examines impacts of MOOCs on higher education and analyze K-MOOC as an illustrative case. For this, it asks such questions as: 1) have MOOCs expanded higher education and provided access for all, especially for the socially marginalized groups? 2) have MOOCs improved the quality of campus-based higher education? 3) have MOOCs reduced the costs to the providers and users? It will conclude with discussion of the emerging issues and future directions.
Insung Jung, Ilju Rha (icome 2017 international conference) Mooc impacts 017 - jung & rha
Impacts of MOOCs
on Higher Education:
Access, Quality, and Cost
International Christian University, Japan
Seoul National University, Korea
International Conference for Media in Education (ICoME) 2017
University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA
August 2 – 4, 2017
Roundtable Session on Aug. 2
Jung, I.S. (2016). MOOCs: What have we learned so far?
Journal of Cyber Education, 10(2), 1-11.
- 33 research articles (2012 – 2016)
MOOC providers’ reports
and other publications
The MOOC Impact
At Global and Local (K-MOOC) Levels
Have MOOCs expanded
Yes, but NOT reaching out to:
less educated; the disadvantaged;
people in the developing countries
• Mainly over 30, highly educated, males and
from the developed countries
• Less than 15%, from BRICS countries. (Brazil,
Russia, India, China & South Africa)
• Students from well-known MOOCs hold a
Bachelor’s degree or above.
- Coursera: 79.4%
- HarvardX: 71%
- FutureLearn: 73%
• No relevant increase in gender equity
through the adoption of MOOCs.
57%: Male / Developed countries
67.9%: Male/ BRICS
70 %: Male
Have MOOCs improved
the quality of higher education?
Little evidence found,
but brought some changes
Support conventional higher
• Course development teams.
• Team teaching.
• Use of visiting lecturers &
• Educators’ competencies
Have MOOCs helped reduce
college tuition costs?
Have MOOCs brought
high returns on investment?
But, more diversified
sustainability models emerged
Major MOOC providers
– Collaborating with conventional
– Also creating their own credentials:
Udacity’s Nanodegrees, Coursera’s Specializations
in business, computer science and data science,
and edX’s Xseries
(Ruth, 2014; Shar, 2015)
For-profit providers: Credentials as the
main source of revenue
Non-for-profit providers: Offering
credits through MOOCs for university
students (edX and ASU, Global Freshman
(Ruth, 2014; Shar, 2015).
Now adding MOOCs for high school
students & test takers.
• “Advanced Placement Exams” &
“CLEP” (By edX)
• “Going to University MOOCs”
Founded in 2015 as an initiative of the
National Institute for Lifelong Education (NILE)
1) To expand lifelong learning opportunities for
2) To contribute to national human resources
## ACCESS is the main goal.
2015 – 27 courses from 10 universities
2017 – 283 courses from 24 universities (will be 320 courses)
• Reached to some marginalized groups
• Still a long way to go:
- Age: 20s (37.0 %) and 30s (16.4 %)
- Education: Around 37 %: bachelor’s degree
(much less than those enrolled in global
MOOCs); 13 % master’s degree, and 4 %
doctoral degree. Around 33 %: Middle or
high school diploma.
- Gender: 55.5 % are males
- Region: Mostly Seoul and Metropolitan cities
Positive changes in faculty
- Serious discussion on teaching methods
- Closer attention to the use of technologies
- More systematic and systemic approaches to
- Digital divide between technology-rich and
technology-poor among faculty & students
- Lack of trust in the quality of online learning
Cost reduction was not the goal.
Government Initial Funding:
- 40,000 – 45,000 USD per MOOC
- 10,000 USD implementation
- No sustainable business models
- Begin to discuss nano-degrees and
collaborating closely with conventional
MOOCs have not democratized
But they have
opened up opportunities
for free higher education study.
Stimulate discussion on pedagogy
(how to teach) among faculty.
Bring some quality changes
MOOCs, maybe free for users for
now; but not free for providers.
Yet to develop
1. Explore various means of providing widened
learning opportunities and useful qualifications to
marginalized groups of people with no or low cost
2. Seize capability of MOOCs in providing flexible
learning paths to students with diverse needs and
3. Develop faculty & students’ MOOC competencies.