Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×
Education The Internet

MIT Master's Program To Use MOOCs As 'Admissions Test' (chronicle.com) 112

jyosim writes: In what could usher a new way of doing college admissions at elite colleges, MIT is experimenting with weighing MOOC performance as proof that students should be accepted to on-campus programs. The idea is to fix the "inexact science" of sorting through candidates from all over the world. And it gives students a better sense of what they're getting into: "When you buy a car, you take a test drive. Wouldn't it be a great value for prospective students to take a test course before they apply?" said one academic blogger.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

MIT Master's Program To Use MOOCs As 'Admissions Test'

Comments Filter:
  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Thursday October 08, 2015 @11:09AM (#50686239)

    What about the other test can you get a loan or pay for it with out one?

  • I love Master of Orion (MOO) back in the Bad Ole DOS days. Not sure if it would make for a great admission tool.
  • by wasteoid ( 1897370 ) on Thursday October 08, 2015 @11:18AM (#50686313)
    For those like me who don't automatically know what some random acronym means.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    Also, shame on submitter / editor for not including acronym expansion.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by ranton ( 36917 )

      Also, shame on submitter / editor for not including acronym expansion.

      Yeah, I hate it when they use acronyms like CPU, RAM, SSD, and other jargon without expansion. I can't understand why they would expect this crowd to know what these terms mean.

      • by BotanistPrime ( 1925452 ) on Thursday October 08, 2015 @11:51AM (#50686549)
        MOOC is not a commonly used term. The ones you mentioned are. Do you understand the difference?
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          AICCFAWTEAAOFU*

          *Also, it's common courtesy for a writer to explain an acronym on first use.

        • Use the search bar here to and tell me how many older Slashdot stories have the word "MOOC" in them.

          • Well, I got curious waiting, so I hope you'll forgive me answering my own question. As of today's date, Slashdot search shows 44 prior stories that include the word "MOOC" in the article. The first one showed up in Oct 2012; it's been 37 months since that time, so on average more than one article per month for the last 3 years.

            The busiest period was Jun 2013 to Jan 2014, which had 18 MOOC articles on Slashdot in an 8-month period; that is, a MOOC article about every other week. I'll take this with a great s

        • MOOC is not a commonly used term. The ones you mentioned are. Do you understand the difference?

          You are correct that it isn't exactly the most common term. But it's sort of weird how EVERY TIME this acronym comes up on Slashdot (and it's pretty often), there is this same flamewar over how nobody seems to know what it means. To wit:

          December 2012 [slashdot.org]
          September 2013 [slashdot.org]
          January 2014 [slashdot.org]
          January 2014 [slashdot.org]
          March 2015 [slashdot.org]
          May 2015 [slashdot.org]

          Etc., etc. I could go on, but I'm tired of reading through old threads.

          Also, there's a headline about MOOCs on Slashdot at least once per month or so [google.com], and there has been for more than 3

      • Also, shame on submitter / editor for not including acronym expansion.

        Yeah, I hate it when they use acronyms like CPU, RAM, SSD, and other jargon without expansion. I can't understand why they would expect this crowd to know what these terms mean.

        I tend to think the style rule I was taught for scientific papers is good overall here: Unless it's an utterly standard acronym used within the (sub)field you're in, one that anybody (including undergrads) who can be expected to be reading the paper will know the meaning of already, always expand it on first use in the paper. MOOC is not one that's standard, and probably won't be unless they become so utterly common that it's safe to assume that anybody here below a certain age has taken at least one MOO

    • by creimer ( 824291 )

      MOOC = Master Of Orion Collective

    • For those like me who don't automatically know what some random acronym means.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      Also, shame on submitter / editor for not including acronym expansion.

      Damn. I thought it was the cows again!

  • This will just incentivize a black market of MOOC students for hire.
    • My thoughts exactly. Having something this prestigious have a standardized way to get past the first hurdle, I'll bet by second semester you'll have people gaming the system. You probably can slow the phenomenon by randomizing the course choice, but I can't imagine this going on too many years before it is completely worthless as a filtering device.
      • First up, they'll still be expected to have high-school qualifications or properly proctored alternative qualifications as well. Secondly, there are mechanisms for identity verification in MOOCs, such as webcam-proctored exams. If you're using this as an entry test, you don't need to verify all the video footage -- you just audit the footage for the successful candidates. This should still be less of a workload than administering a paper-based entrance exam.
    • by ranton ( 36917 ) on Thursday October 08, 2015 @11:44AM (#50686503)

      This is already a solved problem for numerous certification testing programs. Just make sure all official tests need to be taken at a webassessor location, or something similar. If universities are serious about using MOOCs for credit or for admission, they have plenty of options that would significantly reduce* cheating.

      * Obviously you cannot completely remove cheating, but that is true on campus as well.

      • by arit ( 1338477 )
        You're telling me that, even though we cannot do certs properly for much more important applications, online testing is a solved problem???
        • by ranton ( 36917 )

          You're telling me that, even though we cannot do certs properly for much more important applications, online testing is a solved problem???

          I'm not sure I understand your post. Who is saying we cannot do certs properly? Most certifications may be worthless, but the ability to authenticate the person taking the test is rarely in question.

  • Bad idea (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Given the rampant cheating that goes on in MOOCs all they're going to get is students who are good cheating and hiding their lack of knowledge. Those people shouldn't be going to MIT. They're future politicians and MBA holders, not engineers.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Somebody had to do it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 08, 2015 @11:29AM (#50686403)

    Anything we can do that stops people from wasting money on college will help to solve the massive problem that exists in this country right now. There are millions of kids that go to college that really have no business being there. Colleges have learned and adapted to the free market system we now suffer under and have realized that the more they can sell college as an automatic ticket to "the good life", and the more parents they can make feel inadequate if they don't fork over the dough to send their precious children there, the more $$$ they will be rolling in. There should be strict admissions testing for college just like we had to have strict requirements to receive a mortgage after the 2009 subprime lending crisis that nearly destroyed the economy. What we have going right now is a massive scam where millions of young people are sold a bill of goods and spend the rest of their lives paying back loans that they cannot get rid of, working in jobs that are nothing like what they were told they would have when they were first courted by the universities that dot our landscape. Protip: The college campuses are not as nice as they are because they have lots of wealthy alums contributing back millions to the college. They're as nice as they are because of all the people like you who are mortgaging the rest of your life to make them wealthy.

    • Colleges have learned and adapted to the free market system...

      I'll stop you right there. With the number of federal, state, and local subsidies in the form of the subsidized federal student loan program (which, for full disclosure, I participated in), and merit- and need-based grants unbalancing the supply of funding for college, we don't have a free market. And it is because of all the extra money made available by the government interference in the marketplace that has helped to drive college costs even higher than they might be otherwise. It's the law of supply and

    • Back in the "good old days," an educated populace was a source of communal pride. Providing everyone with the opportunity to try (and the opportunity to fail) to better themselves through education used to be a way to reward individual initiative and merit. It's why we have land grant schools and the GI Bill. "State" schools were actually funded by the states; they'd let anyone in; and many of them would fail.

      Now, it seems that education has become an individual benefit for which the individual should pa

      • Back in the "good old days," an educated populace was a source of communal pride. Providing everyone with the opportunity to try (and the opportunity to fail) to better themselves through education used to be a way to reward individual initiative and merit. It's why we have land grant schools and the GI Bill. "State" schools were actually funded by the states; they'd let anyone in; and many of them would fail.

        Now, it seems that education has become an individual benefit for which the individual should pay. Nobody wants to pay to educate his neighbor's dumb kid. State support for "public" universities has dried up, and they depend on tuition to keep the lights on.

        Back in the "good old days," the degrees offered were skewed in favor of ones which brought some benefit to society on the whole and the actual value of the education you received was overall better. It was safe to presume that the this "neighbor's dumb kid" had to have mastered the basic skills to have graduated high school--now, that's not so much the case and in some cases it would actually have been better to flunk that kid, and ideally done so early enough to minimize the work needed to catch up, as o

      • Students who flunk out don't pay tuition

        When I was at MIT, tuition was either up front or 4 payments throughout the term. It was paid whether the student passed of failed.

  • by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Thursday October 08, 2015 @11:32AM (#50686431)

    "Why weren't you in class today?"

    "I was. I logged on and no one was there."

    "No, I mean why weren't you in CLASS?"

    "I went to the website."

    "Did you go to the CLASSROOM?"

    "What's a classroom? You mean the chatroom?"

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Thursday October 08, 2015 @11:38AM (#50686471)

    Isn't that called your undergrad degree?

  • "Elite" is BS, IMHO. MIT-Homeworld could take on ten times the students and not see a drop in performance. That is to say, they're running way under capacity. So are many other "elite" universities. I think a healthy number for a STEM U should be at least 100k -- a veritable city of STEM maniacs. So that's not physically possible, realistic? Go MOOC, MIT. And to weed out the accomplished cheaters, have the student come to MIT-Homeworld for a semester or a year and work on "projects" that would require havin
  • Seems like a good idea at first... until you realize that people can just put together a whole team of people to help them do the online course, and guarantee that they ace it. This scheme is going to reward cheaters, not geniuses.
    • This is the entrance exam. Getting into university by cheating isn't a particularly worthwhile endeavour, because you'll end up flunking out before Christmas.
      • > Getting into university by cheating isn't a particularly worthwhile endeavour

        Not if you keep paying the team or another team to do your work for you. This can go on for _years_, even decades if you've got the money or the athletic career to help the school ignore the behavior.

  • Test for that, then worry about the rest.

  • The upside would be that the most skilled students would be admitted. The downside is that others will be disadvantaged not due to inability but to inexperience.

    Two of my universities had a foreign language requirement. I attended and audited language classes on several occasions and in each case the classroom was full of native speakers of that language. My honors calculus class stunned me on the first day when the instructor discovered 3 advanced students and thereafter directed all his attention to them.

  • I'm not sure this will attract the best candidates. For a Master's program, candidates from from three pools:

    (1) Students who just finished undergrad and want additional specialization before entering the workforce
    (2) Working professionals who want to return to school to gain additional skills or enter a new field
    (3) Those who never found a job and are trying to wait out the market in school

    Of these, only (1) and (3) likely have the time to commit to a MOOC. (2) could (and many people do this), but will alw

  • This doesn't suprise me. MOOCs as currently implemented scare the beejus out of elearning content creators (I used to work at one) with their "race to the bottom" approach to commodifying elearning.

    What it always seemed to be about was the data - how do students behave, how can we tune the system to monetise elearning more effectively.

"I got everybody to pay up front...then I blew up their planet." "Now why didn't I think of that?" -- Post Bros. Comics

Working...