In just a few short years, Massive Open Online Courses – or, as they are more commonly known, MOOCs – have gone from a novelty teaching tool to a possible education game changer. While it is still early days yet there can be no doubt that MOOCs will have a lasting impact on the education landscape of the future. The principle is simple – offer high-quality classes online to students anywhere around the globe at a fraction of the price of tradition university courses – and the implications enormous.
By their very nature MOOCs effectively work to eliminate the geographical, social, and/or financial constraints that have, heretofore, limited access to higher education. This is especially true for language learners. ESL MOOCs are not only cheaper but, because of their inherent online structure, offer immensely more flexibility than traditional language training. Though often taught by university faculty, video replays of individual lectures can be viewed at any time of the day or night and, in many cases, students can enroll in the courses themselves at any time. MOOCs not only free students from the fixity that defines the Spring, Summer, Fall semester start dates but also make it possible for students to spend more time studying and less time commuting. Continue reading “ESL MOOCs “