• Law, Policy -- and IT?

    Tracy Mitrano explores the intersection where higher education, the Internet and the world meet (and sometimes collide).


Help Us With Our Homework

Reasons to embrace distance education and MOOCs.

November 20, 2013

This semester I am fortunate to be taking part in an IT leadership program at Cornell University. Part of the program includes giving a presentation, and I was thrilled to find “the impact that distance learning has on higher education,” as one of the topics. I am in Florida now at the Sloan Consortium Conference, and so I hope to intellectually vacuum up as much information as I can to help our group prepare for our presentation in January.  With all the members of our group providing input, this morning I compiled a list of 10 reasons why an institution would want to embrace what I have called, “Distance Learning (and MOOCs in Particular)" or “DL/M” in short.

Would you be willing to help us with our homework by commenting and adding your thoughts to our work so far?

Why Distance Learning (and MOOCs in Particular)  [DL/M]

1. Keep up with the higher education “Joneses,” i.e. get in the game even if a specific outcome(s) of DL/M is (are) not yet fully identifiable except to say that in one form or another it is now a part of the fabric of higher education.

2. As a sector, higher education wants to continue to play an important role in the on-going development of the culture, law and politics of the Internet.

3. MOOCs in particular comport with the outreach or public service missions of not-for-profit higher education.

4. DL/M play and/or may come to play a significant role in new forms of accreditation, for example in competency based education.

5. MOOCs in particular comport with the goals of internationalization, a powerful driver in many colleges and universities, especially those that think of themselves as “international universities.”  Similarly, DL/M that embrace international audience can integrate this experience into a domestic international experience (interaction with residential students and faculty) as well as the institution’s multicultural, interfaith, inclusion and diversity programming.

6. MOOCs in particular represent a significant aspect of an institution’s branding and marketing especially on an international scale.

7. DL/M are a component of new forms of pedagogy.

8. DL/M may lead to yet unrealized multidimensional research collaboration.

9. DL/M may play a part in a comprehensive sustainability policy.

10.  DL/M may play a part in meeting the needs of non-traditional students, underserved populations, and be a component in public policy designed to address both domestic and global “digital divides.”


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