What Are MOOCs and SPOCs?

20150304_Moocs and Spocs

Online education is not new, but the evolution of it continues to make the news as many believe that it will revolutionize education. In an article titled Technology and Universities- the Log-On Degree in the March 14, 2015 edition of the Economist, an analyst discusses the pros and cons of the new face of online education and how established universities such as Arizona State University and Harvard are seeking to integrate online education with traditional face to face education.

Defining MOOCs and SPOCs

Two acronyms to know are MOOC and SPOC. MOOC refers to massive open online course, such as Coursera and Udacity.  SPOC refers to small private online course. A SPOC is a version of a MOOC developed to address the criticism that MOOCs are passive, non-interactive lectures. SPOCs are becoming more popular within established universities either as a resource to an existing course or as a stand alone option.

Why MOOCs and SPOCs Matter to Lawyers

For corporate lawyers, this extension of the education field translates to potential new sources of business, either through company side representation of online education companies who collectively are receiving billions in investments, or through investor side representation by those hoping to profit from this growing field. It is important for corporate lawyers to understand the terminology used by their clients.

It will be interesting to see how the legal field is impacted by this education revolution. Who knows, online law school may be considered more acceptable in the future, bar preparation may transition to include SPOCs and continuing education courses may become more interactive for practicing lawyers.

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