Interesting piece in Inside Higher Ed which argues that the real impact of MOOCs on the University is to get the University out of the business of engaging students and working to improve completion, retention, and graduation rates. Nobody gets into the University until proven by MOOC. And since so few people complete the MOOCs, the percentage of the population with degrees may plummet.
Constructing this future will take some time, but not much time. It only requires the adaptation of various existing mechanisms for providing proctored exams worldwide and a revenue and expense model that allows all the providers (university and faculty content providers, MOOC middle ware providers, and quality control providers) to establish profitable fee structures. In this model, the risk and cost of student engagement is borne by the students alone. The university assumes no responsibility for student success other than identifying quality courses. The MOOC middle ware companies create and offer the content through sophisticated Internet platforms available to everyone but make no representations about the likelihood of student achievement. Indeed, many student participants may seek only participation not completion. The quality control enterprise operates on a fee-for-service basis that operates without much concern for the number of students that pass or fail the various proctored tests of content acquisition, and many participants in MOOC activities may not want to engage the quality control system.