"For all the star power harnessed by massive-open-online-course providers, Yale University has been a notable absence. While many of its elite peers scrambled to get out ahead of the MOOC wave, Yale bided its time.
That’s about to change. Yale announced on Wednesday that it would soon offer MOOCs through Coursera, the Silicon Valley-based company."
"What’s education good for anyway, when we have the web to hand. Does the web change anything, or nothing? Why did we need universities when we had libraries – and university libraries – with books in them? Why does everybody need a degree? If graduates are the only people who make it to the end of an ‘advanced’ (rather than ‘course taster’) MOOC, what the hell are the universities doing? Why do folk who have become graduates need to take courses when we’ve got the web lying around? What is going on? I just don’t understand…"
Chris Lott UAF's insight:
I'm betting the confusion, which I share, comes not from there being no answers to these important questions, but from there being at least a dozen, often contradictory but correct, answers to them.
The penultimate question interests me most. Is the interest in MOOCs by this group of degree-bearing learners mostly a result of the MOOC hype making them so visible, whether that visibility exposed an itch they didn't know they had or was a balm for one they did? Is it an ease of use/access thing?
We can all educate ourselves using the web. The web is a vast open educational resource. And yet, just last night, I found myself--a MOOC skeptic by any measure--looking for a typography MOOC. Not because there isn't a wealth of materials for autodidacts such as myself, but because I hoped for something organized. Something with an expert. Something with a community. Forgetting, for a momement, that even if a typography MOOC existed (I didn't find one), I would likely only be getting the first of the three...
“I don’t see it as particularly my business how people use the stuff once I put it out there,” Mr. Noor says—though he adds that if dismantling departments were all a MOOC was being used for, “then I’d stop.”
"One of prime advocates of MOOCs is Daphne Koller of Stanford University. In a TED talk that has had over a million views, Koller’s address to the well-heeled Tedsters of Silicon Valley is at once compelling and implausible. It’s a narrative that has all the right motifs, but lacks the depth of analysis that would also make it true. Coming from one of Stanford’s finest, it would, under normal circumstances, be an irritating disappointment. However, the fact that Koller is being taken seriously makes it less irritating and more alarming. It speaks to the gullibility of monied technocrats who believe they can change the world and to the desperation of lesser mortals eager to stave off a decline in their living standards."
Chris Lott UAF's insight:
Manipulation of the message and economics in the portrayal of MOOCs.
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