ENSIAS, Mohammed V University in Rabat (MOROCCO)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2017 Proceedings
Publication year: 2017
Pages: 7276-7280
ISBN: 978-84-697-6957-7
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2017.1947
Conference name: 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2017
Location: Seville, Spain
The fast-paced development of information and communication technologies has resulted, in the last few years, in the emergence of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) as a trend in the field of open distance education. Just with a decent internet connection, learners can have access to a wide range of courses from leading universities and colleges for free or for a fraction of the price. However, the remarkable growth of these online video courses has generated a lot of debate among educators as to the usefulness of such learning materials and to their potential impact on traditional learning. The objective of this paper is, therefore, to examine to what extent MOOCs can be an alternative to formal education. In this respect, based on the survey we carried out among Moroccan higher education faculty members and students, it was revealed that though these online video educational materials allow respondents to learn at their own pace and to have access to knowledge in ways that were previously unimaginable, most of the participants in the study noted that MOOCs cannot replace formal education. In fact, the subjects argued that there are many factors that seem to hinder the use of MOOCs as a substitute for traditional education. First, though these learning materials have proven to partially replace one-size-fits-all lectures and to help learners gain specific skills, there are many other courses or skills (e.g. non-cognitive skills) that cannot be efficiently taught online. Second, MOOCs do not yet provide a broad array of educational opportunities for people who do not demonstrate English-language proficiency. Since most MOOCs are offered in English, they may have limited potential for use outside English-speaking populations. Third, it is difficult to facilitate meaningful conversation in a virtual space with thousands of students. Even though message boards or forums are proposed in MOOCs for this purpose, face-to-face communication cannot be replaced any time soon. Fourth, many teachers are still reluctant to embrace MOOCs in their teaching activities for fear that their role will be diminished or taken over by these online video courses. Given these reasons, we believe that MOOCs will not replace formal education, at least for the short term, but will certainly contribute in enhancing the learning experience.
Education, MOOCS, traditional learning, survey, classroom, substitute