From Forbes: When massive open online courses (MOOCs) took off three years ago, many educators had high hopes that these courses could expand and diversify access to education. Early aspirations were soon replaced with criticism: studies showed that MOOCs weren’t reaching those who needed access the most. Further data revealed that completion rates were strikingly low, even among students who intended to complete courses and not just browse or sample lectures.
Yet as an educational technology, the MOOC platform offers possibility. MOOC providers are branching out into new areas, and courses have grown to include a wide variety of courses that span academia and professional development. One area where they can have an enormous impact is increasing the percentage of women and people of color who study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). We must begin to address the challenges facing these groups earlier in their educational lives.