[…] there was fairly broad-scale agreement that MOOCs and other technology-enabled education will be truly transformative in higher education only at the point that they give educators the tools to do two things: (1) expand access to the low-income students who are disproportionately excluded from today’s higher education system, and (2) provide instruction that is more targeted to an individual’s educational needs — a goal, several argued, that might ironically be achieved sooner precisely because technology enables education to be delivered to so many students at one time.
Even those who don’t think MOOCs will transform the face of higher education acknowledged the extent to which they had changed the conversation about online education in a fundamental way.
Because institutions such as Stanford University (through Coursera and Udacity, companies created by its professors) and MIT and Harvard University (through their own MOOC startup, edX) have thrown their prestige and influence behind online learning, “the best universities must be seen as bringing their education to people who don’t have access to it now, and I’m grateful for that shift in perception,” said Susan Cates, executive director of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s MBA@UNC, an online program that is neither massive nor open. “Coursera deserves credit for paving the way for great universities to do things that are a little different.” […]
(Source: MOOCs assessed, modestly, Doug Lederman, Insider Higher Ed, Jan 14, 2013, emphases added)