Last month, edX launched its new high school initiative: 27 MOOCs on topics ranging from math and science to English and history, AP courses, and even a course on how to navigate the college admissions process. The first three courses are set to start next week, with many more beginning in January. This is a very positive step, not only for MOOCs, but for everyone involved. Here is how MOOCs for high school can benefit everybody.
Students are obviously getting the biggest benefit from the initiative. Many will have the opportunity to take courses that their high schools don’t offer, like AP courses, which in recent years have been the victims of budget cuts in many districts. MOOCs will also allow them to test out college-level courses and boost their college readiness so that they can get more mileage out of their freshman year. The courses will also give students some experience learning online, which will be valuable even if they attend a traditional residential college program.
Parents have something to gain here, too. Good AP scores mean students can test out of required courses. At many schools, that means they may be able to advance their semester standing and perhaps graduate earlier, which can lighten the financial burden for parents.
Many high schools can offer courses they couldn’t before, not only AP, but other courses as well, for example, Introduction to Engineering and Engineering Mathematics. MOOCs also provide another option for remedial courses, like Introduction to Algebra.
Offering MOOCs to high school students can help colleges both identify potential applicants and ensure that those applicants are prepared for college-level work, thus, potentially decreasing the amount of remediation that needs to be done at the post-secondary level.
While all of the MOOCs in the high school initiative are currently focused on preparing students for college, I can imagine a time when more vocational courses might be offered. This would be a way for students to get job skills while still in high school.
What other benefits can be gained from designing MOOCs for high school students?