MOOCs here to stay? Seen an adult basic education MOOC yet?


I have wondered -- perhaps you have too -- if Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are here to stay. The issue, of course, is profitability; if they are free, how will they make money? An October 15th EdSurge article discusses the evolving Coursera business model, and it looks like it's on the path to a profitable future.

At some point someone(s) will develop MOOCs for adult learners, and for adult basic education professional development. Have you seen any yet? If so, please let me/us know.

David J. Rosen



Technology and Learning Colleagues,

If you are interested in MOOCS, and wonder if those who complete them have education or career benefits, you might be interested in reading the Coursera longitudinal study results described in the 9/23/1015 EdSurge blurb below:

Coursera’s first longitudinal study asked 51,954 learners whether they enjoyed any career or educational benefits three months or more after finishing a course. Spoiler alert! Overall, 72 percent of respondents reported career benefits; 61 percent said they enjoyed educational gains.

David J. Rosen

Technology and Learning CoP Moderator


Note: the link included in my previous post was to an EdSurge Article about the impact study (I am not sure it's really a longitudinal study) that included the link to the study results. The Link to the PDF of the study is .

I suggest you read the short EdSurge article first, however, with the important caution that the learners included in the study were not low-skilled adults.

David J. Rosen

Technology and Learning CoP Moderator


If you are interested in or curious about Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) for your own professional or personal development, or for some of your working students, this December 20th, 2017 article from EdSurge on The Metamorphosis of MOOCs may be of interest. The author, Fiona Hollands, focuses on post-secondary learning, so her findings about how MOOCs are changing may not be immediately relevant to all pre-college adult learners, but these low-cost MOOC certificate packages could be relevant to adult learners in adult secondary education, to those transitioning to post-secondary education, and especially to those who may also be working.

Hollands writes, "Increasingly, MOOCs are being packaged into series of courses with a non-degree credential being offered to those who successfully complete the series. Some people wonder whether these credentials could serve as an alternative to a degree. Others hope that they may provide a pathway to a degree. Most likely, these new options will emerge as a low-cost alternative to employer-provided training." and "Examples of these online course series, which are open to enrollment by any applicant, include Coursera Specializations which appeared in early 2014, and the MicroMasters, first offered in Supply Chain Management by MITx in 2015 via the edX online platform. Some series now culminate in a capstone project or proctored examination. All charge fees for participants who wish to earn the non-degree credential. To date, over 500 Specializations have been developed by a wide array of academic institutions and corporations, and 24 universities are offering a total of 41 MicroMasters. Udacity’s NanodegreesedX XSeries, and edX Professional Certificates are additional examples of these open, online course series joining the growing ranks of alternative credentials."

Have you taken a MOOC? If so, have you received academic credit, or used it as a non-degree credential? Have any of your students taken a MOOC? A Nigerian colleague of mine who lives in Liberia, at my recommendation a few years ago, took free online computer science and other MOOC courses; he fashioned them into an online degree program based entirely on these distance courses and got an inexpensive undergraduate degree from a West African University. Having this training and his undergraduate degree, he now works as a successful consultant trainer in 18 African countries and as a program evaluator in Liberia. When I met him several years ago he didn't have enough money to enroll in one course at any university, let alone some of the courses he eventually took as online MOOCs from M.I.T. and other prestigious U.S. universities. Could some of your students, perhaps those who already have college or university degrees from universities in their countries of origin, benefit from post-secondary or graduate online education or training made available through MOOCs? If they earn a relevant online course series credential, would their employer reimburse them for the modest fee?

David J. Rosen. Moderator

LINCS CoP Integrating Technology Group




Thank you for sharing the information on MOOCs, David. I signed up for several courses in the past and successfully completed one. At the time I was looking to expand my knowledge in copyright permissions. I found this free material to be high quality and complementary to other professional development training. Most MOOCs are formatted in an accessible way, usually around 4-6 weeks and can be self-paced or facilitated by an instructor that adopts the MOOC as part of their class lesson plan. This makes me wonder...why have these organizations (Coursera, edX, etc.) not created a track of courses for adult basic education? 

MOOCs that may be applicable for ABE/ESL:

MOOCs for instructor PD: