Students and professionals who are not taking not of the advantages of MOOC’s are going to find themselves in trouble in less than 5 years. Here’s why:
Taking Online Classes can be demanding not just on your time and your attention but also on your wallet (even with all those student loans easily available) but MOOC’s are going to change the way the American education system works and a certain group of nefarious operators are the ones who’re going to play the catalyst in making that change happen. It’s not what you think. Read on to find out.
I am not an alarmists gathering people around predicting the demise of the education system as you (and I) know it while beating a large drum (or a gong?), so I am not really going to talk about the ballooning student debt bubble (that even highly placed government officials are starting to say is TBTF) – at last count a measly 1 trillion, rising levels of ADHD and ADD that makes it impossible for students to take classes or focus on anything really (this could be misdiagnosis or god know what), alarming trend of under employment (causing college grads to take on jobs that they are overqualified for) or even universities and education providers acting like rent seekers and furthering the massive degradation of quality and usefulness of the courses they offer. I mean, all these things are bad but they are not that bad, are they? Education in America is at percipience, it may stay here for a little bit longer (as it is dependent on many, many externalities) but this is something we are all going to have to deal with a lot sooner than later. Let’s not focus on sliding test scores because that’s not an accurate signal of intelligence of capability, but let’s focus on whether or not young people in America are getting their monies worth when they pay (again, not just with their money but with their precious time and attention) to take a class and attain a degree – this is a tricky question. The results though are seemingly conclusive and apparent, if you are not a student taking a class from one of the name brand Ivy Leagues or if you are not a student working to get a highly specialized technical degree that is not just now in demand in the economy but is going to be in demand by the time you enter the workforce then, I hate to break this to you but you may be scr#wed royally. Let’s take a look at why that is, with the federal student loan bubble being lovingly blown up and kept alive by all participants in the education ecosystem (from the Federal government, universities and professors to large multi-national companies) who have essentially increased the ‘supply’ of American degrees in the market, way more than ‘demand’ to a point where students who didn’t attend a top Ivy school are unemployable without a master’s degree (or are going to be underemployed, which is likely worse), this is also apparent from the absolute negative value that a majority of the subjects part of courses offer to students today provide, or the ridiculous testing and grading practices that are now prevalent and it’s pretty clear as a student or a working professional, if you are pursuing a degree or a certification then you need to be doing it because without it you won’t get the kind of job you want or get the loan you want. But at the same time, pursuing it is not going to get you anything other than a job (that you are likely overqualified for).
We are facing a quantum shift, from a time when the American education system ruled, turning out some of the best and brightest pioneers and innovators who changed the world to now where our test scores and labour force skill level are sinking down the drain. As a student you can take classes but what’s the point? Are you doing it to get a job? For a loan? What sort of value are you going to create once you get that degree that you’re paying through your nose for? You gotta ask. And you’ll come to the conclusion that a a group of individuals who saw the landscape of their business changing, decided (independently but now they’re almost working like the OPEC, a cartel of sorts) that Education was going to change in a big way and that they were going to lose complete control of it. But as all rent seekers seeing the end of their beginning coming about, they conspired to build a massive moat around their cash cow (they failed to realize that this is akin to a suicide pact, a parasite killing its host and itself) so that is where we are at now.
Mooc’s – Massive Open Online Courses are the way of the future, I don’t think anyone will argue with that, if you’re in the American workforce now or if you’re just a student you’ve likely been hearing all about online classes, but MOOC’s aren’t online classes. Online classes are a continuation of the broken system I went off on above, MOOC’s are their awesome counterpart, changing the world, one class at a time. Suppose you are a student who wanted to take a class in Chemistry or Computer Programming, and you wanted to do it just to learn, you could log on to OpenCourseWare and learn the stuff that the super smart geeks get to learn, without paying a dime for it or for the computer coding class, you could go to Khan Academy and take a class - learning how to build stuff with code for free within minutes. This is a MOOC; because it’s awesome, easy to start, convenient and free. But that’s the problem, notice how I said it’s "free"? That’s the problem.
To be able to get a job in today’s economy, large universities and the members of the cartel I was talking about has made it so that you have to pay the piper (them), so to feed yourself you have to play by their rules. And that’s how they’ve ensured their continued survival, their moat is that. Without them stamping your ticket, your intelligence is worthless. And their stamps are working overtime so its value is increasingly getting cut down to zero. So, online classes – not the solution. MOOC’s – very much the solution. But why aren’t MOOC’s able to replace online classes from established providers? Why aren’t MOOC’s delivering a coup de grâce and ending the disgraceful death grip that the educational industrial cartel now has over ‘learning in America’? Well, it’s mostly because classes that students take online from MOOC’s, it’s less proven and corporate America isn’t ready to embrace it entirely. So although it could spark a massive revival, sort of a renaissance that will allow corporate America to rule for another hundred years, that opportunity is now missed by the titans of Industry.
So what is going to bring about the end of online classes that aren’t MOOC’s? I will tell you. So I was recently take an online course from the University Of Phoenix and as I was taking the class, I found some of the subjects part of the course a bit of a challenge and so I tried to get in touch with the professor (to no avail) and after doing some research, I came to know of a very interesting little cottage industry that is on the rise. What is this industry you as? Well, it’s a small group of people, quite secretive, they run organizations that are highly structured and organized (like terror cells) and they work by helping students cheat online classes. These are actual small businesses running at a large scale, they have customer support, hundreds of thousands of clients (from stats conveniently provided on their website), well known founders and it’s all incredibly bizarre. I researched the field thoroughly to learn about these interesting people, mostly to learn if they were the typical Byronic heros; some turned out to be fly by night operators who would take money from desperate students and run off with money but there were several that seemed to be thriving and extremely organized. A company called No Need To Study is one that I communicated with, extensively (entirely out of curiosity, I was never going to pay someone to take my online class- come on, what do you think of me?) is the one that stood would the most as it had a legit masthead with founders and toll free numbers, endless list of capabilities and more. This was a firm that is apparently so prevalent that even in my small social circle 5 people had hired this company, No Need To Study to take their online classes, help with courses and what not. So they are popular and quite good at what they do (from what I heard), I sent a couple of emails and spoke with one of the people who works there, Kelly Seraphin and it was eye opening to say the least, the things she had to say. Obviously these are smart people, who are spending all of their time taking online classes for other people.
I think the scale at which firms like that work, to thwart the online class system is going to be a major catalyst to bringing about a positive shift to where MOOC’s start becoming an acceptable real option for those interested in learning (and making a living).