Massive open online course (MOOC) is a new paradigm in education. Already many top universities like MIT, Harvard, and Stanford, are offering these courses in various disciplines. Students from across the world are enrolled in these programs. Some of the largest MOOC classes being offered today have more than 50,000 students enrolled. edX, founded last year has already got 1 million student enrollments and 27 universities agreeing to offer courses.
This is a disruptive trend in terms of the college education as we know it. While it may not replace the traditional classroom pedagogy, it does establish a new framework of how students get educated. Most likely scenario is that this will be a supplemental channel to gain additional skills, knowledge. More importantly, this will give a student the opportunity to interact and compete with a global group of peers.
How does crowdsourcing fit into this? The MOOC enrollment provides the massive numbers of students, diversity, geography distribution, experiences, and knowledge that makes it an ideal crowd.
A way to take advantage of the student crowd is to pose problems in the domain related to the educational course/program and have them solve industry challenges. For companies the potential is enormous – they have the attention of thousands of creative minds that can provide innovative solutions. For students, it provides a real world exposure to that enhances the learning.
This approach to leverage the student community makes the problem-solving process quick and low cost. It remains to be seen how the MOOC framework evolves and empowers the students to become problem solvers as they learn.