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Nathan Heller: Is College Moving Online? : The New Yorker

Posted on by Brandon Klein

This spring, however, enrollment in Nagy’s course exceeds thirty-one thousand. “Concepts of the Hero,” redubbed “CB22x: The Ancient Greek Hero,” is one of Harvard’s first massive open online courses, or MOOCs—a new type of college class based on Internet lecture videos. A MOOC is “massive” because it’s designed to enroll tens of thousands of students. It’s “open” because, in theory, anybody with an Internet connection can sign up. “Online” refers not just to the delivery mode but to the style of communication: much, if not all, of it is on the Web. And “course,” of course, means that assessment is involved—assignments, tests, an ultimate credential. When you take MOOCs, you’re expected to keep pace. Your work gets regular evaluation. In the end, you’ll