MOOCs–massive, open, online courses–are all the rage in higher education. Hundreds of thousands of students all over the world are enrolled in the best-known MOOCs, which are offered by Harvard, Stanford, MIT, and other prestigious institutions. Some think that online courses will soon eclipse the familiar residential college campus as the model for higher education.
The shift is underway in an unlikely place–refugee camps in East Africa. Several hundred students in three camps are currently enrolled in online courses leading to a degree from Regis University in Colorado. Hundreds of others have participated in service learning projects online. The effort is spearheaded by the Jesuit Commons, a consortium of Jesuit educators and institutions bringing Jesuit education to those on the margins of society. According to a report in Inside Higher Ed, there’s talk of eventually creating an online-only Jesuit university.