Why the techno-utopianists are wrong about online education's revolutionary power.
Colonialism is a particular kind of socialization. It involves educating communities into the “superior” culture of a powerful but distant center by replacing local authorities or co-opting them as translators. A liberating education, on the other hand, makes students not just recipients of knowledge and culture but also owners, critics, and makers of it.
While they claim to get down to business and focus on training only, MOOCs do their fair share to affirm and promulgate broader cultural trends, like the rise of trust in celebrities’ authority, the cult of technology as a surrogate for leadership, and the exchange of digital convenience for personal privacy.
The idea that we should have access to anything wherever and however we want it for free, in exchange for the provider’s opportunity to use and sell our online footprint to advertisers or employers is the essence of digital consumerism. This is the culture that MOOCs are borne of and reinforce in turn.