Arguments For and Against Online Education

Cato Unbound, recently featured a discussion on the topic of online education. If you’ve been following edtech news over the past few weeks, you know that MOOCs have been a hot topic. Cato Unbound hosts monthly discussions between four libertarian and nonlibertarian scholars selected by the Cato Institute and edited by Jason Kuznicki.

For the chance to hear multiple perspectives on MOOCs and online education, check out the latest updates on Cato Unbound this month. Alex Tabarrok notes the following pros for online education:

  • Leverage of the best professors teaching more students.
  • Large time savings from less repetition in lectures (students in control of what to repeat) and from lower fixed costs (no need to drive to university).
  • Greater flexibility in when lectures are consumed (universities open 24 hours a day) and in the lecture format (no need to limit to 50 minutes).
  • Greater scope for productivity improvements as capital substitutes for labor and greater incentive to invest in productivity when the size of the market increases.
  • Greater scope for randomized controlled trials of educational strategies thus more learning about what works in education.

However, Alan Ryan remains skeptical and Siva Vaidhyanathan argued that the idea behind online education is too simple because education is not just “the injection” of information from teacher to student. Kevin Carey, on the other hand, feels Alex Tabarrok’s take on online education is not radical enough.

Are MOOCs worth the hype? If you’re interested in chatting more about the issue, join us at our upcoming edtech event in NY where our panel of experts, including moderator Laura Pappano and local edtech entrepreneurs will discuss the opportunities and challenges of education becoming more open, accessible and social. You can buy tickets here.