MIT Master’s Program to Use MOOCs as ‘Admissions Test’

Students who do well in a series of free online courses will enhance their chances of being accepted into a supply-chain-management program on the campus.

Source: MIT Master’s Program to Use MOOCs as ‘Admissions Test’

When I first saw this headline I thought of this in the old way as an admissions process and performance assessment: come to our MOOC, how well you perform determines your admission. Yeah, a Hunger Games for grad school (shudder). And that is partly what MIT has in mind:

“Students who do well in a series of free online courses and a related online examination offered through MIT’s MOOC project, MITx, will “enhance their chances” of being accepted to the on-site master’s program, according to a university statement. Students who come to the program after first taking the MOOCs will then essentially place out of the first half of the coursework, so they can finish the degree in a semester rather than an academic year. That effectively makes the master’s program half the usual price.”

But what if MOOCs were run by the graduate students themselves as part of a capstone project or gateway course for entering Master’s candidates or just for the world in general?

I love that MIT has some skin in the game and there ante is actually worth something. I don’t like the idea of using MOOCs as a screening house. I suspect this is a use for MOOCs that is mother’s milk for many schools. The idea in the article of having mini-master’s certificate programs is also appealing at first glance. I fear that all of this is just a bridge too far for all but the most innovative learning institutions. Too far for most governance schemes. Too far.

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