The first acronym stands for Massively Open On-line Course. They have been much in the news lately. At least three companies have been formed to commission and deliver them (coursera, udacity and edX). All claim that they will eventually generate revenues via certification. This is where the second acronym in my title, Educational Testing Service comes in.
MOOCS are a boon to the ETS and I’m surprised they have not jumped in to offer testing and certification for MOOCS. The courses on MOOCS are open. Many are at a basic level. Its easy to put together tests for them. The ETS has the infrastructure to deliver and administer those tests. In the short run, the ETS could `free ride’ off the MOOCS on offer. In the long run, the ETS could commission MOOCS offerings on particular topics either directly (or indirectly by announcing a test and the material to be tested for). In doing so, the ETS would cut out the hoped for revenues that coursera and udacity are counting on! Perhaps ETS could use those revenues to support MOOCS for SAT and AP test prep!
In the `longer longer’ run, what is traditionally covered in the first year of college of most US campuses (Econ 101, Psych 101), migrates on-line. Students enroll in the relevant MOOCS and take the tests administered by the ETS. Admission into universities is now pegged to performance on these tests rather than the SATs. The 2-3 years in University are spent in small seminars that emphasize the apprenticeship aspects of education.