Assessing the Effect of Massive Online Open Courses as Remedial Courses in Higher Education

Tommaso Agasisti
Politecnico di Milano, Italy

Giovanni Azzone
Politecnico di Milano, Italy

Mara Soncin
Politecnico di Milano, Italy


Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) are one of the main important trends for the higher education worldwide. The relevance of this new tool for digital learning is related with its major features: (a) courses are “massive” (i.e. allowing scalability), (b) open to everyone interested ina topic, and (c) available online just thanks to an internet connection and a digital device.MOOCs are then an example of “disruptive innovation” that could revolutionize education as we know (Christensen & Eyring, 2011). The benefits related to MOOCs concern both efficiency and quality of education service. Universities engage with MOOCs seeking to increase their visibility, recruit new students (Hollands & Tirthali, 2014), provide flexibility of learning outcomes, improve campus teaching and respond to the evolving needs of learners worldwide.Effectively, MOOCs can have a wide range of impacts on Higher Education institutions, encompassing marketing facilitation (Riddle, 2012), stakeholder inclusiveness through democratization of education (Jorge et al. 2015), new university structure, as well as day-to-day operations improvements. Furthermore, MOOCs allow academic institutions to decrease their cost structure: lower costs can be reached through the reduction in facilities expenses (Bacowet al. 2012). Focusing on students’ benefit introduced by MOOCs, we can observe that, starting from lower levels of education, MOOCs help students to prepare for a school/university enrolment test or a school/university exam, providing a higher flexibility and a higher quality of preparation. In this respect, MOOCs can boost students’ motivation, employing several ways of supporting the learning process (Jorge et al. 2015).

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