Larry Press: An Infographic on MOOCs

Written by Larry Press

What are the advantages of massive open online courses? Larry Press presents a compelling infographic on MOOCs. — I am generally not big fan of infographics, but this one from summarizes some interesting facts about MOOCs (massive open online courses, in case you are one of the 25 percent of Americans who, according to the infographic, have not heard about them).

One of the interesting infographic facts is that five million people have taken MOOCs. That sounds like good news. But there’s “bad” news, too. The dropout rates are up to 90 percent. I put “bad” in quotes because that is not so bad — it is a reflection of a common misconception about MOOCs.

If 90 percent of the degree-seeking students at a university dropped classes, it would be a disaster, but MOOC students are generally not seeking degrees. When they sign up for a class, they are “browsing,” not enrolling. This infographic shows us that the most-common motivation for taking a MOOC is simply “curiosity” — not getting credit toward a degree. As it turns out, the majority of MOOC students already have degrees. The MOOC niche is lifelong learning and vocational training, not replacing universities.

Check the infographic out — it comes with links to sources, which you can follow to learn more.


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For, I’m Larry Press.

Based in Los Angeles, Larry Press is a founding senior editor covering tech here at He’s also a professor of information systems at California State University at Dominguez Hills. Check his Google+ profile — he’s at +Larry Press — or email him at