The University of Washington has recently joined several other universities in offering Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Here is an article that talks about them. The classes they are offering are available through Coursera, but there are several other such sites that offer classes from universities such as Harvard and MIT. The above linked article talks about the benefits and disadvantages of MOOCs. They do cost the university money, and though UW has offered the same classes for credit, not many people are taking advantage of it (and paying the fees). Thus, the university loses money by giving the MOOCs for free. This could become a problem if the university continues to offer several classes and do not get many people to pay for them. I do think MOOCs are a good idea, and they allow people to learn new skills they otherwise would not have been able to. I have been thinking lately about taking an MOOC to learn computer programming or other skills. I have been looking for work for about 6 months, since I graduated with my MLIS, and I figured learning some of these skills may help me in my search. I am currently enrolled in a beginner computer programming class through MIT on edX. It starts on February 4, and I will review the class once I have started it.
What do you think of MOOCs? Do you think they are sustainable for universities, or how could they become so? Have you ever taken one?