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Toward a level playing field?

Do free learning resources benefit the disadvantaged and decrease gaps between rich and poor? Hansen and Reich studied the relationships between socioeconomic status (SES) and enrollment in and completion of free Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) offered by Harvard and MIT. Students from low-SES backgrounds were less likely to enroll in MOOCs and earn a certificate than their high-SES peers. Thus, although there are many free online learning opportunities, it is not safe to assume that they will “level the playing field.”