Analysis of the sketchy available data reveals two myths about MOOCs: First, MOOCs are subsidized, not free. Second, MOOCs have high completion rates for those who seek credit.
To better understand MOOCs, discussions are emerging with classification schemes that provide perspectives of students with different motivations, needs and methods of learning. These schemes can be used to further refine “completion” rates, and to understand subsidies. Though there is limited data available, the several examples can be used to develop a better, but far from complete, understanding of MOOCs in higher education.
Colleges and universities need to know the full costs of offering “free” courses, even when provided by a commercial firm to students at no cost. The definition of “completion” becomes critical to public funding policies for students and colleges and universities