November 20th, 2014
09:09 AM ET

Are MOOCs the future of education?

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

Fareed speaks with Stuart Butler, a Brookings scholar, who's written extensively on massive open online courses, or so-called MOOCs, and Anant Agarwal, who runs edX, a MOOC outfit founded by two bricks and mortar institutions.

Stuart, explain first the kind of crisis in what you've called the business model for higher education.

Well, it certainly is a crisis that they’re facing. First of all, the costs of traditional education have been going up and the indebtedness associated with it. Now student tuition debt in the United States exceeds credit card debt. Secondly...

And it's $1 trillion, right?

Butler: Yes, exactly. Secondly, you're seeing different kinds of information coming forward so that people can actually evaluate the success of going to one college or another, whether it actually pays off.

And then the third thing, which you referred to, is that you're seeing new kinds of technologies that, first of all, appeal to students who are not part of the regular market, but now that technology is being developed, such as through edX and through others, such that it is really beginning to break open the existing traditional market. So there's an existential threat to the very business model that, quite honestly, has been lasting for almost 2,000 years.

You point out the numbers are pretty staggering. You now have, among private, non-profit college graduates, 65 percent in debt. The average indebtedness is $20,000. Cost is obviously now at two, three hundred thousand dollars to go to college, at least. And it's not clear that they get that much out of it.

Butler: That's right. And that's the driving force. Once you combine information about whether you're getting good value for money, and then you combine that with new technologies, that gives you different ways of actually getting to the same result. That's what breaks open a market.

But of course, a lot of people say, that's fine, but you can't just sit in front of a computer and watch some professor – that's not education. What do you say to that, as somebody running an outfit that does sort of that?

Agarwal: Today's online education is not our grandfather's online education. Its completely transformed. We are doing short videos, interactive gaming technology where professors are using game-like technologies, discussions, segments such as yours, where various people get together, experts in the field get together to discuss a topic. So it's not just a video of a professor standing at the end of a classroom. So the technology has advanced tremendously. We bring discussion forums and the social into the classroom, into the online experience. And so this can be a very rich and very high quality experience.

Watch the video for the full segment

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Topics: Education

soundoff (224 Responses)
  1. chri§§y

    Yes he is @ rupert and hes making good sense too! I cant wait to hear what the congressional romper room brats are gonna try to come up with in retaliation next! They work harder at gettin out of doing their job then they do actually DOING their job!!!

    November 20, 2014 at 8:17 pm | Reply
  2. Grand Poobah

    So the only way to peace in Afghanistan is dismantling the terrorist network and financing emanating from India, cutting it up into smaller nations along the lines of communist USSR and let smaller and more gentle and economically dynamic states emerge, stopping the genocide in Kashmir of muslim children/women, subjugation of minorities, prosecution of Christians and Muslims. Furthermore the ridiculously large and ineffective Indian army needs to be dismantled and put to use in assisting the poverty stricken masses and not sitting in trenches hiding from Talibans.

    November 20, 2014 at 9:14 pm | Reply
    • Philip

      No. In order for Justice to be reinstated in Afghanistan the men of the Bridas Corporation currently being indefinitely detained at GITMO must be released and given back legal authority to operate Afghanistan's TAPI pipelines as they had before Bushco troops shot them or illegally detained them. Not that shooting suspects is legal.
      Unocal v Bridas
      Bridas v Turkmenneft

      November 20, 2014 at 10:25 pm | Reply
  3. chri§§y

    @ Grand Poobah....i dont like how my neighbors cut their grass and feed the critters outside either, but ya know what? Its none of my business and i dont have a say what they do on their own property. Just the same as in India or anywhere else for that matter. We can make suggestions...but we cant enforce them!

    November 20, 2014 at 9:20 pm | Reply
    • Old Widow

      You tell em Chrissy. And I could give a ratz azz if my neighbor molests children on his propatay. Nunna my beezwax.

      November 20, 2014 at 10:28 pm | Reply
      • banasy©

        Call the police, you ignorant ass.

        November 20, 2014 at 10:37 pm |
      • 12 yr old ritalin junkie

        No. We can only make suggestions, banasy. Did you not read that what Chrissy said? Suggestions. We have no authority over neighbors in you and Chrissy's dungeon world.

        November 20, 2014 at 10:41 pm |
      • banasy©

        Suggestions to other countries, you ignorant ass.

        I'm sure you know all about dungeons.

        November 20, 2014 at 10:43 pm |
      • 12 yr old ritalin junkie

        No police would be called. Suggestions would be made. Politically correct suggestions, of course. No confusing gay priest neighbors caught ray ping young makes with common child molesters, for example. Statutory raype is statutory raype. Even in cases of openly gay priests you thought had forgiven u in exchange for 20 hail Marys.

        November 20, 2014 at 10:45 pm |
      • banasy©

        If you don't call the cops, you're an ignorant ass.

        Don't put your ignorance onto others, you meandering moron.

        November 20, 2014 at 10:48 pm |
    • Commodore Strawhecker II

      What do you mean we can't enforce then, Chrissy? What do you think we have been doing? Twiddling our thumbs? We occupy almost 140 countries now. And force them to sell their natural treasures to obese and greedy Americans who consume 1/3 of everything the earth produces yet account for less than 5% of world population.
      In a word, you are stupid, Chrissy. Really really dumb.

      November 20, 2014 at 10:33 pm | Reply
      • banasy©

        In a word, you're an ignorant ass. A really big, really disingenuous, ignorant ass.

        November 20, 2014 at 10:39 pm |
      • Commodore Strawhecker II

        Of course babazi will deny US occupying over 120 countries. And deny Americas obesity epidemic. And the fact that the average voter is stupid now.

        November 20, 2014 at 10:48 pm |
      • banasy©

        FOCUS, you moron.
        Troop occupation hasn't even been brought up until now within this thread.

        Of course I'm ware of that, PED, o why would you think otherwise?

        Because you're an ignorant ass.

        November 20, 2014 at 10:54 pm |
    • 12 yr old ritalin junkie

      We set kittens on fire and see who can juggle them the longest. Like playing hot potato only takes more practice. We could never get away with it except Chrissy is our neighbor and she don't care

      November 20, 2014 at 10:38 pm | Reply
      • banasy©

        If you lived next door to her, and she saw you raping a child, hell YEAH you'd get your comeuppance, you ignorant ass.

        And the the police would be called.

        November 20, 2014 at 10:41 pm |
  4. FBI crime stat

    Most raypes go unreported to police. So banazi is calling most raype victims stupid. And she's a victim herself! Go figure.

    November 20, 2014 at 10:51 pm | Reply
    • banasy©

      Not what I said at all, you ignorant ass.

      I said if you saw some kid being raped by your neighbor, call the police.

      Are you really that reading-challenged?

      November 20, 2014 at 10:57 pm | Reply
      • Ronnie Raygun

        And FBI crime stats say most of US don't follow your advice, you idiot.

        November 20, 2014 at 11:15 pm |
      • banasy©

        That is their failing, not mine, you ignorant ass.

        November 20, 2014 at 11:22 pm |
  5. Ronnie Raygun

    Well. It's been nice chatting with you old ladies again. I suppose. Did I mention Nancy looks younger now that she's been dead awhile? He he. Suppose I did.
    Well. Don't stand next to cars running in 10% ethanol when flying saucers shoot little Tesla blue beams at you. Word to the wise, as it were.
    Muster Gorbychop. Tare down that dad burn cotton picking wall! He he. 🙂
    Good night all. Zzzzzz

    November 20, 2014 at 10:56 pm | Reply
    • banasy©

      You are out of your mind.

      Nancy Reagan is still alive, your ignorant ass.
      Jesus Christ, you're stupid.

      November 20, 2014 at 11:00 pm | Reply
    • Ronnie Raygun

      Oh! Nancy's alive? Then who is this laying next to me I wonder. No matter. It's none of your business what I do on my own property.

      November 20, 2014 at 11:12 pm | Reply
      • banasy©

        Maybe your first wife?


        You love to throw out analogies, but can't seem to connect the dots when someone else uses them.

        Another reason you're an ignorant ass.

        November 20, 2014 at 11:26 pm |
  6. chri§§y

    Lol @ Philip aka CommoDUNCE...are you having reading comprehension issues AGAIN? I was commenting on Grand Poobahs 9:14 post about what the WE should make India do with their "ridiculously large army! Or do you just not THINK before you post?

    November 20, 2014 at 10:58 pm | Reply
    • banasy©

      He is, as I have stated repeatedly, an ignorant ass.

      And, no. He does think before he posts.

      November 20, 2014 at 11:03 pm | Reply
      • banasy©

        *doesn't think. He just vomits word salad.

        November 20, 2014 at 11:19 pm |
  7. chri§§y

    Lol @ Philip! Run Forest...RUN! Same old same old! Was today a verb day or a noun day?

    November 20, 2014 at 11:05 pm | Reply
  8. chri§§y

    Lol @ banasy...BITE your tongue! Are you kidding me? If HE lived NEXT to me he woulda been dead a long time ago! Lololol

    November 20, 2014 at 11:10 pm | Reply
    • banasy©

      Which is precisely why I said the police would be called after his comeuppance.

      No jury would convict, I assure you.

      November 20, 2014 at 11:17 pm | Reply
  9. chri§§y

    Anyway hes just a boring old goat with nothing NEW to say. Like most other drunks, he just repeats the same CRAP! He just gets a little more viscious each time!!!! Kinda like that witch on the wizard of ozz! Lol

    November 20, 2014 at 11:15 pm | Reply
    • Philip

      *Oz. Not ozz. And it's munchkin mentality thinking Ding Dong the Wicked Witch is dead and she had zero conspirators.

      November 20, 2014 at 11:26 pm | Reply
      • banasy©

        Just like your use of "gay" on the other blog was a typo, right, nitpicker?

        November 20, 2014 at 11:28 pm |
      • Ronnie Raygun

        No. More than that. As I explained in my comment you ignorant homiphobe.

        November 20, 2014 at 11:54 pm |
      • banasy©

        You ignorant ass, it was a typo, same as yours.

        I like gay people.
        I am not the one who talks about other people's sex lives as nauseum. Recognize yourself?

        November 21, 2014 at 10:49 am |
  10. Ronnie Raygun

    Kept u old hags replying anyway. Lol
    Good night you ignorant women. Perhaps get a man or something.

    November 20, 2014 at 11:20 pm | Reply
    • banasy©


      We know you want to get a man.

      That's 98% of your problem.

      November 20, 2014 at 11:24 pm | Reply
      • openly gay priest

        I can't believe our sister Donna has resorted to making fun of men wanting to sodomize other men. 230.hail Marys, Donna. Or burn in hell. 🙂

        November 20, 2014 at 11:41 pm |
      • banasy©

        Donna makes fun of people who bash gay people, yet doesn't recognize their own latency.
        Since I have to spell it out, that would be you.

        November 21, 2014 at 10:52 am |
  11. Ronnie Raygun

    Something new for Chru$$ty complaining about same old...a new portal to launch "UFOs" has been built atop Cheyenne Mountain disguised as a 5 star hotel. Gov op Pegasus. 🙂

    November 20, 2014 at 11:23 pm | Reply
  12. chri§§y

    Hey stupid! If my neighbors are arent breaking the law then what they do in their yard is none of my business! I realise old queenie you would wanta go around the neighborhood and do daily bedchecks, but thats not permitted! And only a pervert like YOU would associate child raype with how people maintain their lawns, but i dont! Ya mental midget! Get a clue!

    November 20, 2014 at 11:24 pm | Reply
    • Philip

      You have no clue about what your next door neighbors are doing behind closed doors you idiot. Ditto national neighbors. You old hags are dumb.
      Good night.

      November 20, 2014 at 11:29 pm | Reply
  13. chri§§y

    Lol gnite @ banasy! Let him play with himself and yea pun WAS intended!

    November 20, 2014 at 11:30 pm | Reply
    • Dr. Spock

      It's all about him. So sad.

      November 20, 2014 at 11:33 pm | Reply
      • banasy©

        What have you been doing all day? Why do you think you have the privilege of gossiping about people yet you think you're immune?

        You are such an ignorant old woman.

        November 21, 2014 at 10:59 am |
  14. openly gay priest

    I can't believe our sister Donna has resorted to making fun of men wanting to sodomize other men. 230.hail Marys, Donna. Or burn in hell. 🙂

    November 20, 2014 at 11:43 pm | Reply
    • banasy©

      I tell the truth.

      I wasn't making fun, merely stating a fact.

      November 21, 2014 at 10:46 am | Reply
  15. openly gay priest

    Burn in Hell for using gay sez to.put a man down. " We know you want to get a man. That’s 98% of your problem." , you said. Repent or burn in Hellfire. Your choice. Sodomy is good.

    November 20, 2014 at 11:47 pm | Reply
  16. Ronnie Raygun

    Well. Still can't get over this isn't Nancy I been fondling all these years. What is she now? 90? And a big fan of Obama's I bet. She was always a democrat like me too before the GOP made cash offers.

    November 20, 2014 at 11:51 pm | Reply
  17. Cardinal Ratzburger

    " We know you want to get a man. That’s 98% of your problem." Said Banazi. Making fun of men who wish to sodomize each other. How shameful. Donna's intolerance is disgusting. She will burn in catholic dogma hellfire for sure.

    November 21, 2014 at 12:00 am | Reply
    • banasy©

      It's all about her. So sad.

      November 21, 2014 at 11:00 am | Reply
  18. Holy See

    @banazi. I see you said " We know you want to get a man. That’s 98% of your problem." You are a bad girl. A hundred years ago we would gave just bent you over. But now are into boys and men.
    You will say 230 9 Hail Marys and give your local priest a BJ and perhaps be forgiven a way out of burning in catholic dogma hellfire forever, physically.
    Mentally you will always be held captive by your own 2 cents worth.

    November 21, 2014 at 12:07 am | Reply
    • banasy©

      Lol. Back to writing fiction, I see, PEDphil.

      November 21, 2014 at 10:56 am | Reply
  19. rupert


    November 21, 2014 at 4:51 am | Reply
    • Philip

      Wt? Registered gestures? When's your next appointment with Dr. Phil, rupert?
      And notice how the wicked took flight when I brought out my 3 heavyweights. (gay priest, Cardinal Ratzburger, and ...ding ding ding, the one and only Holy See)
      That old Holy See is a conversation stopper if ever there was one. Have you ever checked out bedroom slippers Pope's wore. Omg. They look like jewel encrusted Twinkies.

      November 21, 2014 at 6:54 am | Reply
  20. Philip

    5:00AM and all is well. 🙂

    November 21, 2014 at 6:57 am | Reply
  21. Mel

    Bunch of Hindoo raypists from India posting sh it. Modi lovers all of you.

    November 21, 2014 at 8:24 am | Reply
  22. rupert

    I see philip has struck again. Like to push people's buttons??? Lol
    If my neighbor is doing nothing wrong then what goes on there is none of my business.
    However if my neighbor has kidnapped someone to harm them or is making drugs which corrodes the neighborhood. Then it is my business. I am not a hero. I will call the police..with pictures if possible.

    November 21, 2014 at 8:52 am | Reply
    • Philip

      Like I said. You have no way of knowing what your neighbor is doing. Men cheat on their wives for years before the wife finds out, for example: Hillary Clinton was ignorant of Bill's activities at one time. And she lived with him. So you just don't know what your neighbor has done.

      November 21, 2014 at 10:29 am | Reply
    • banasy©

      And there you have it, Rupert.

      November 21, 2014 at 11:05 am | Reply
  23. rupert

    Shut up mel. Stu pid

    November 21, 2014 at 8:53 am | Reply
  24. rupert

    @mel,hannah, Blue Saffron (same guy)
    Modi said that he doesn't like what u are posting and when he finds u he is going to shove his left FIS T up your as.s

    November 21, 2014 at 8:55 am | Reply
  25. rupert

    Then u are going to sound like taylor swift singing when she says, "ah ah ah ah ah ah ah."

    November 21, 2014 at 8:57 am | Reply
  26. rupert

    Shake it all. Shake it all. Ah ah.
    Ferhat where are u? Boy

    November 21, 2014 at 9:06 am | Reply
  27. rupert

    I am the man. I am the boss among these blogs here
    Unchallenged by
    Blue Saffron
    And whats here name. Oh yea, banasy

    November 21, 2014 at 9:08 am | Reply
  28. rupert

    Yea that be right. Gonna shuffle down the kitchen and eat me some fried chicken with collard greens and grits. Then some water melon.
    Then imzz gonna listen to 50 cent getting down.
    Think I'll call the po-lease. Saw my neighbor selling green smoke.
    I'm the man

    November 21, 2014 at 9:15 am | Reply
    • Philip

      If your neighbor is a doctor pushing dope on disabled people, who can you call? The police don't give a ratz azz if disabled people are overly medicated for profit.

      November 21, 2014 at 10:33 am | Reply
  29. chri§§y

    And like i SAID @ philip, daily bed checks in your neighbors homes is against the law you perverted peeping tom!

    November 21, 2014 at 10:34 am | Reply
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