MOOCs or college? You may not have to choose

Study: Most adults think college is a waste of time and money

Who needs a degree? Free online courses are just as good, according to millennials.

That’s the most interesting finding in a study out today from QuestionPro, a survey software company. But take that with a handful of salt.

Although more than 400 people participated, only a third had heard of the “massively open online courses” (MOOC) they were asked to compare to a traditional undergraduate degree. Literally only one person said they were currently taking a MOOC — “just for fun,” he or she said — although 110 said they were at least somewhat likely to take one in the next year, mainly to prepare for a career.

Still, 82 percent of participants thought an undergraduate education could be entirely replaced by MOOCs. About a third of participants were millennials, the largest age group in the study. Most at least know what traditional college is like — more than a quarter of participants had a master’s degree, and another third had an associate’s or bachelor’s.

It’s not a totally outlandish idea, either — especially if it keeps people from taking out student loans. The New York Times dubbed 2012 Year of the MOOC, and while a lot of people still haven’t heard of the term, the idea is sticking. Companies like AT&T are already working with MOOC platforms to develop degree programs tailored to their specific jobs.

If you want to learn more about MOOCs and how they might make college cheaper or free, check out our story, Can you mooch a degree out of MOOCs?

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