Interdependency, Swiss Army Knives And The Limits To MOOCs

Christian Terwiesch and Karl Ulrich recently released an interesting report on the potential impact off online education on MBA programs (“Will Video Kill the Classroom Star?”). While many might quibble about the particulars of their back-of-the-envelope calculations on the cost of residential versus online education, there is much to like about their analysis and with much that I agree. In particular, the notion that MOOCs are a red herring in the debate about the future of education, and that the true power of online approaches is the embedded technology that allows for customization and scalability (what they refer to as “SuperText”) rings true. “SuperText” presents new opportunities not only for substituting for but improving upon some elements of residential learning.

However, their boldest prediction concerning the impact and outreach of “SuperText” – that MBA education could be unbundled (their “Pathway 3”) – I would argue is based on a flawed premise.

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