Monday, June 3, 2013

The MOOCs are coming!

I did this illustration for The Chronicle of Higher Education a couple weeks ago, on a tight deadline before the Memorial Day weekend. The article discusses MOOCs, Mass Open Online Courses (Wikipedia link here), and how they are a natural progression of how higher education has been evolving over the last few decades. The author explains that colleges, once very localized, are now universal in their departments, courses, standards, and almost every way they function. Instead of offering an education designed around the school's location, all schools are now basically the same. In the author's opinion, this leaves them vulnerable to the MOOC trend. He states in the article: "As any botanist knows, a monoculture is highly susceptible to a single pathogen."

That analogy helped to spark this idea, of the MOOC trend- in the form of binary code- overwhelming a college, much the way ivy has overwhelmed many school buildings over the last couple hundred years. The author likens this situation to the way big department stores closed in the wake of Wal-mart. Most colleges, he forecasts, will eventually be replaced by online courses- "the Wal-mart of higher education." But just as there are specialty, artisan shops for just about any product you might want, so too will there be niche, artisan schools.

 My sketches focused on the idea of these digital, online courses affecting the physical, brick and mortar institutions, or that the traditional setting of the class is a thing of the past. The article is online here, but requires a subscription. Thank you, Ellen!

Still to come: Harvard Law Bulletin, Institutional Investor, and Bloomberg Markets.

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