What Massive Online Open Courses Lack


As college tuition increases exponentially, online courses have become very popular. Massive online open courses (MOOC) have been created to manage soaring college tuitions. Since college costs are on the rise, students need to work more to pay for their education. Increasing work hours makes attending school increasingly harder, thus with improvements in technology, the aspect of online courses, distant learning, have made a college education possible, while working a 40 hour week. Anthropologist Christina Wasson, from University of North Texas, first experienced a massive online open course when the University of North Texas launched an online master’s program in anthropology. Teaching both online courses, as well as courses in the classroom, she was fascinated by their similarities and differences. Wasson found that what makes learning effective is cognitive presence, social presence, and teaching presence and these online classes lack both social and teaching presence. According to Wasson, this is especially ironic because the students who tend to enroll in online courses are economically disadvantaged students to need the most social and teaching presence. Due to the lack of social and teaching presence many students who enroll in these massive online open courses either fail or drop out. These findings demonstrate the trap of online courses. Although they are tempting for the low cost, they are hard to pass due to them lacking social and teaching presence, thus they need to be improved for higher education.