Who you are: an assistant in the Dean’s office

Who your reader is: Dr. Patricia Bradshaw, Dean of the Sobey School of Business

Why you are writing: Dr. Bradshaw is deciding whether to offer a series of free, non-credit six-week MOOCs (massive open online courses) in introductory business topics starting in the 2015 Fall semester. She knows that other universities in Canada and the U.S. offer free, non-credit MOOCs, but she has heard some debate about their advantages and disadvantages. She needs to know more about them.


Dr. Bradshaw has asked you to research information for her about non-credit MOOCs, including the advantages and disadvantages or current debate about them, and to recommend whether Saint Mary’s University should offer a non-credit MOOC series. She will need your report by mid-June to meet the deadline for advertising new courses. Dr. Bradshaw is expecting researched content for all components of the report body.

Your task

Prewriting: Use the library’s databases (EBSCO Academic, ABI, and CBCA) to find at least twoacademic sources published within the past five years about MOOCs. In addition, use other credible Canadian sources, including educational institutions (e.g., university reports) or news media websites such as The Globe and Mail.

Writing:  Write a two-page (plus one References page) analytical memo report to Dr. Bradshaw. After your report introduction, explain what a non-credit MOOC is, how it works, and its potential impact on universities. Give examples of at least two Canadian universities that have offered MOOCs. Then thoroughly discuss three advantages and three disadvantages of non-credit MOOCs to universities. Conclude your report by summarizing your research and recommending whether the Sobey School should offer non-credit introductory business MOOCs.

Revising:Revise your drafts to ensure your message follows the instructions given here, in your COMM class, and on the checklist.

Referencing your research:  Please be sure to correctly cite and documentall your sources using the APA system discussed in class and shown in the Cites & Sources guide and Business Communication textbook.

Do not copy content from any sources. Use your own words to express your thoughts.


The objective of the report is to provide a report to doctor Patricia Bradshaw on clarification of benefits and groundbreaking features of non-credit six week massive open online courses. Secondly, the report entails to establish comprehensive information the current debate regarding the course. The report is highly regarded in the sense that it would help doctor Bradshaw to make a sound decision on whether offer the course. The main research methods used to collect the findings include internet surveys and literatures. The literatures mainly include on-line database and news media websites. The topic entails programs preparing learners to engage in interaction with each other with a primary purpose of enriching the course with shared experiences and social aspect. Some critics argue that course is general in nature implying that it less regarded than credit courses (Hoy, 2014).

This report is recommended to be used by the Sobey School of Business for review purposes.

Overview of MOOCS 

Massive Open Online Courses is a newly introduced online course that allows learners from any location to participate via discussion forums, computer graded test, and video lecturers. in essence, the course highly depends on web link that facilitates distance education recent MOOCS is quite distinct from early MOOCS where recent MOOCS uses closed licenses to offer course materials. Lecturers using the course engage in automating tests and quizzes to attract voluntary participation of students. In most cases, students rely on discussion group and self-organized studies. Students are expected to access short video lectures that serve as basis of completing assignments. Learners or machines do the grading process. Earlier form of MOOCS focused on disciplines such as computer science, engineering, and math (Lewin, 2012). Recently, MOOCS has included wider platforms that are applicable to peer reviews. Canadian Universities such as University of Toronto and York University are some of the institutions that offer MOOCS.

Advantages of MOOCS

There are a number of beneficial features of non-credit massive open online courses.


It is evidently clear that MOOCS can accommodate massive number of students compared to other courses. The course includes millions of learners that have resolved to take the online course. Learners from distinct geographical area and those that experience financial hardship have managed to be included in the program. MOOCs can be declared one of the greatest social innovations in the current century. a large number of students have got an opportunity to learning the world best higher education institutions. In essence, without the introduction of the program, a large number of students would have missed to achieve their dreams to pursue their education in highly regarded university. Apparently, the program has opened do for future social and economic progress by opening doors to hundred of students around the globe.


Instructors and have portrayed positive feedback on the level of accessibility of the MOOCS. The course has a capability creating an exclusive appeal to attract potential participants. The format for MOOCS is flexible in the sense that it eliminates the need of applicant s to include prerequisite information. The online program is also exclusive in that it does not pose limit to professional and college students only but can include younger learners willing to participate in the program. Through technological advances, it is easy to access MOOCS around the globe compared, which is a different case with credit courses (The Globe and Mail Inc., 2013).

Engagement of students

The primary goal of the MOOCS is to improve outcomes of students. MOOCS enables instructors and students engage in instructional method, motivation, and delivery of essential aspects. With the introduction of MOOCS, educators have been able to students to engage in courses provided through online means. Instructors provide ultimate student engagement by varying the style of learning for students familiarize with teaching strategies.

Disadvantages of non-Credit MOOCS

Despite the fact that some educators have recognized various benefits of MOOCs, the program has attracted several criticisms over its need to be implemented in learning institutions.

Assessment performance

Despite the fact that instructors can engage students to attend the lecture, MOOCS attracts serious criticism over validity of the program. Learners have engaged in cheating through online education especially by plagiarizing their assignments. The case implies students present other peoples work as if it is their own to their group members. This is serious case as it violates patent rights of original authors. In essence, some students take advantage that lecturers have no chance of making close follow up over completion of assignments as instructed.

Disappointing Completion Rates

Many stakeholders to MOOCS argue that he program offers high quality education to a huge number of students. However, the disappointing part of the program is the fact that a big number of participants have failed to complete the course. The research revealed that the disorganization as the primary contributing factor to low level of completion rate of the MOOCS. In one ay, it appears the program need ultimate cooperation between learners and lecturers. It becomes a significant challenge to create an improved performance lecturers never have a chance to meet a number of participants. In essence, only some few students mind completing assessments and assignments (The American Economic Review, 2014).

Cultural Conflicts

The fact that the course is offered to learners without limitation, learners outside the home country of the university may face it difficult to match the content of it culture among other conditions. It is a fact that countries adopt distinct cultural values that may not suit other countries. Therefore, there are cases where students fail to acknowledge contents of the course especially those that may probably tend to diminish cultural values. Therefore, MOOCS may not be very beneficial in such a case (Paul, 2012).

Conclusion and Recommendation

The discussion reveals that technological advancement has continually facilitated context of learning and education perspective. MOOCS is one of the highest regarded learning mode that has is on the brink of replacing traditional form of education. A critical look at the argument raised, it is undisputable fact that MOOCS perceive new perspective in learning accrued by benefits such as student accessibility, affordability of the course, and social and economic opportunities. However, challenges raised over the program pose serious concern over the quality of the MOOCS to participants that could not be monitored due to geographical barrier and massive number of enrolled learners. All the same, challenges will never cease in any newly introduced stage at infant stage. A critical look at the challenges accrued to implementation reveals that the challenge could be addressed effectively with improvisation of technology and Closer Corporation. In any way, providing affordable and high productive education has stronger grounds compared to avoidable challenges such as low case of dropouts. Additionally, issues such as plagiarism could be easily avoided if learns consider being more serious on their academics.

Statement of recommendation: based on the argument above argument, the advantages of the MOOCS surpass challenges. Therefore, I would recommend Doctor Patricia Bradshaw to consider introducing non-credit six Week massive open online courses coming 2015 Fall semester.

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