I have thought about grad school as a distant idea and thought, but almost as if it was a far away dream. Harvard, Yale, Wharton, Chicago Booth, Northwestern’s Kellogg all provide value, but after all is said and done do they provide massive and quick ROI? Especially with the tremendous cost of higher education?
A somewhat new trend has emerged in the last several years and that is MOOC’s(Massive Open Online Courses). Many have dubbed MOOC’s, today’s correspondance courses. Sites like Coursera, Khan Academy, iTunes Courses and others have really tried to pave the way for inexpensive & accessible learning. Another site that has emerged is “NoPayMBA.com“, put on by its founder Laurie Pickard. Pickard is a 32 year old American Woman currently working in Rwanda and has been able to put together a curriculum of classes from MIT, Wharton, University of Michigan, Stanford, University of Illinois just to name a few. Another site has been setup by a gentleman who goes by “Detlev” out of New Zealand, called MOOC-Courses.com. It appears his cirruculum contains classes from Wharton, UC Irvine, UC Berekely, Cornell, Stanford, The World Bank, Johns Hopkins and others. Many have said the the idea about the courses is to make learning and higher education more accessible, while others have argued for the driving down the cost of education. Regardless of position the question remains, will Millennials be the ones to credential and accredit MOOC Degrees and MOOC Programs.
The cons of MOOC degrees would mostly be tied to accreditation and money. On the accreditation front, who would be responsible for accrediting coursework? Would their be tiers or levels of accreditation, how would employers feel about this as well. From a money standpoint, how would educators and administrators be able to be paid a fair wage for the value that they provide. These are questions Millennials and the generation after Millennials will have to answer in the coming years.
The pros of MOOC degrees are many. Low cost, accessibility, and the knowledge that one could get from them. The other pro would be the massive ROI an employee would get from the classes they take. I also believe MOOC’s may act as a market solution to iron out the massive cost of higher ed and the challenge of student debt associated with it. Right now, the average college student is graduating with just over $30,000 of student debt(tuition and fees only, no room and board), and around $3,000 in credit card debt. When you consider a couple scenarios; Student going to college for 4.5 to 5 years and accumulating $80,000 in debt just for their undergrad now being able to go and get an MBA for $1,000 to $2,000 for a total cost of $82,000, versus a student going to Community College for 2 years at $7,000, a State school for $20,000, and then dropping $140,000 for their MBA for a total cost of $204,000. The savings is significant. It will be up to Millennials and the generation after us to iron this out along with free market principles.