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Bill Gates: MOOCs will replace textbooks, not universities

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Many of the grants by the Gates foundation concerning MOOC's are focused on the use of free open courses as a supplement to traditional courses, rather than a replacement for them.

For instance, another Gates-foundation grant announced Tuesday, for $1,440,900, will support researchers from Ithaka S+R, a group that speeds development of information technologies for higher education, to study the effectiveness of MOOC's used in a "flipped classroom" model. In that model, students at traditional campuses watch lecture videos for homework and use class time for discussion rather than lecture.

In that way, Mr. Jarrett said, MOOC's may turn out to be a high-tech replacement for a textbook.

"We think in the short term the blended, flip-the-classroom model is going to be the one that's most effective for first-generation, low-income students, the kind of students that we work for," he said.

I don't know anything about Massive Open Online Courses.

Please explain them to me. Thanks!

MOOC is a terribly branded name! Basically, a usually-free class ( this could change), open to anyone (see previous comment), that are online and have unlimited registration. Think MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role playing game) but a classroom! I suspect that is whence the name derived.

However, Huffington Post ( has a good definition, emphasis mine.

"MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses, offer (free) online college-level classes open to anyone, and everyone, who wants to take them. MOOCs have captured the imagination and attention of entrepreneurial newcomers and traditional incumbents alike. Start-ups such as CourseraedX and Udacity have led the charge, expanding course offerings and rapidly signing up partners, from individual faculty members to prestigious institutional partners. Established institutions such as San Jose State University are trying out MOOCs in traditional classes, "flipping" the experience so students take the MOOCs as homework and engage in deep problem solving in the classroom. The very notion of free, high-quality courses has some prognosticators pronouncing MOOCs as a game changer that will drive down the cost of college while driving up student learning.

Okay, so it's free, high-quality courses like University Now.

Not free awesome videos like iTunes University, YouTube University, and Khan Academy? 

 University Now is free? Or $99/month? 

Free awesome videos but in a course with a beginning to end with a bunch of students taking courses concurrently (Coursera) or not concurrently (Udacity). 

And the courses are supposed to be more high-quality.

You're right, there's not much difference than say Khan or Udacity, other than that Udacity et. al are for-profit companies.

 Also Khan is K-16 or whatever, and Coursera/Udacity and MOOCs are generally "higher education" alone, although of course, in america higher education and secondary education are identical for the first two years of college/university.

University Now's classes are free. You pay for the degree after you've passed.

in America, job >= degree; in other nations degree = job. until degree = job, the value is still going to go into free fall. 

tens of thousands of students are graduating from four-year universities with degrees and no jobs.

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