Two years into their existence, MOOCs haven't stolen students away from brick-and-mortar universities. Instead, they've become a genre of their own.
"For the time being, MOOCs seem unlikely to take the place of physical campuses—or even replace for-profit universities, as Lue hopes they will. In order to do that, MOOCs would have to begin offering meaningful credits—the kind someone could take to a job interview and expect to have taken seriously. (For now, even though HarvardX classes feature the same content as their in-person equivalents, it’s not possible for students to earn anything more than a certificate of completion—the equivalent of a “P” in a pass-fail class.)
So what is a MOOC? What makes it different from a brick-and-mortar classroom? In the end, the answer may be exactly what it seems to be: a MOOC is a film. It’s easy to dismiss college-age kids as screen-addicted zombies, but cinema has a particular ability to move people: It’s informative and entertaining; it’s literature and photography at the same time. If nothing else, the MOOC-driven revolution may inspire classroom instructors to make their lessons more dynamic and figure out what really ignites students’ imaginations. There is a reason they can’t take their eyes off the screen."