Facebook has always been connected to the fun part of college life. The days are not too far gone that you needed an .edu email address to join and track your friends. You could share the pictures from parties, road trips and rivalry games with your close-knit network of college friends, and few others. This has changed over time, now parents and corporations are as much a part of Facebook as college roommates.
And now, last week, the London School of Business and Finance introduced their latest offering on Facebook: an MBA. Facebook is again for college students! But the boring, studious part of college, not the fun social part.
According to the New York Times, the program is a "try before you buy" approach where anyone can access the Facebook page and take the courses without paying, and then opt in to the handsome £14,500 fee for formal accreditation.
This "try before you buy" program sets an interesting precedent: education is free, accreditation isn't. It's an interesting idea, and will add to the conversation around the potential of online education. However, at the end of the day it will beg the same question that other online programs have faced for years: on a resume, will a degree earned on Facebook measure up to one earned from a brick-and-mortar school?
What do you think?
Uh, no. I'm in nursing school. Do you want a nurse who was educated on Facebook?
Perhaps John has a point for practical based degrees, even vocationally, would you want a carpenter who had never actually laid his hands on a saw? probably not
But for theory based courses, I see very little reason for this NOT to happen, traditional 'bricks and mortar' schools as you call them predominantly still teach the way we taught 200 years ago, this is not the optimal way of getting information across for every individual, and we all learn in unique and varied ways. providing a myriad of options for students to gain the requisite knowledge and theory in the fields of humanities, business, theology, etc is a positive move in the educational space and is long over due
The day when people can chose what they want to learn, how they want to learn it, and who they want to learn it from are far far overdue considering the technology we have available at our fingertips.
Obviously for practical skills, online doesn't work. But there again, plenty of websites attempt to cater for those as well. Maybe it would be possible to teach nursing or carpentry using online resources that includes photos and videos along with diagrams and text.
I'm fairly sure that no medical school simply wheels in a sick person and says "Have at it!" Book learning, lectures and demonstrations have their place, and they are text-based, audible or visual without any of the hands-on practice. So maybe an online education for practical careers isn't as laughable as it first sounds. And possibly the people who need educating first are those who dismiss the idea out of hand.
For me the more interesting point is that you can learn for free, and only pay for the accreditation. How many people will take the free learning without paying for the certificate? The skills they gain might well allow them to get a better job or progress in their current one, and then pay later when they can afford it. How long after you complete the learning portion do you have to buy the certificate?
And will there be any difference between the one you earn on Facebook and the one you earn attending LSBF? If there is no difference on a transcript or the certificate, then this has real value. If, on the other hand, you have a small *Facebook* addendum, then it may not be worth buying as it will take a long time (if ever) for this to gain credibility in the marketplace.
I wonder if MS would consider following suit and put the courses for MCTS/MCITP online for free? The cost of creating the courses would remain the same. Revenue from buying the courses would need to be replaced by the additional people taking the exams. But maybe there would be some value in having more certified people who used MSL courses because they were free, rather than using dumps which need to be paid for?