To begin, the premise of MOOCs is that they are free of charge to the student, hence the word ‘massive’ in the title as literally hundreds of thousands of individuals around the world are participating in MOOCs at any given time.  For the learner, free tuition would seem to be the best tuition fee of all, and exposure to some of the best and brightest instructors /students who participate certainly helps to enrich the learning experience. However, completion of a MOOC does not guarantee credit toward the completion of a program of study.  That said, the tide is beginning to turn in favor of granting credit, as several educational associations and institutions are actively engaging in discussions to formally grant credit and transferability for the completion of MOOCs.  

TEDTalks: Daphne Koller: Co-founder of Coursera. Video credit: Ted Talks

"Students want flexibility and convenience, they wish to engage in learning in a variety of settings."

Describing the future state of post-secondary education would be inaccurate if it did not include distance or online learning, so it is a given that MOOCs will factor into the equation at some point.  Students want flexibility and convenience, they wish to engage in learning in a variety of settings and they do not wish to be held back from engaging in learning because of a lack of pre-requisite credentials. 

MOOCs address these preferences and more, with evidence of learning communities of students forming as a result of participating in a MOOC as well as evidence of individuals improving their lifelong learning skills by self-evaluating their personal learning and knowledge absorption.  MOOCs may or may-not be the hot topic of discussion by this time next year, but they will still be around as institutions define the value they can add to their programs of study.