Still talking about MOOCs

MOOC Professors Claim No Responsibility for How Courses Are Used.” Steve Kolowich. The Chronicle of Higher Education (May 21, 2013): “[Mohamed A. Noor, a professor of biology at Duke University] says he believes dismantling departments and replacing them with MOOCs would be ‘reckless.’ But the Duke professor also believes that, in such a case, ‘the fault lies with the reckless administration,’ and not the professor who furnished the MOOC to the vendor that furnished the MOOC to the administration.”

ETA: “Laptop U: Has the future of college moved online?” Nathan Heller. The New Yorker (May 20, 2013):

David W. Wills, a professor of religious history at Amherst … started out being open to moocs, he said. But the more he heard the more his concerns grew, and none of edX’s representatives seemed able to address them. “One of the edX people said, ‘This is being sponsored by Harvard and M.I.T. They wouldn’t do anything to harm higher education!’ What came to my mind was some cautious financial analysts saying, about some of the financial instruments that were being rolled out in the late nineties or early two-thousands, ‘This is risky stuff, isn’t it?’ And being told, ‘Goldman Sachs is doing it; Lehman Brothers is doing it.’ ” The language he heard from edX, he said, was the rhetoric of tech innovation—seemingly to the exclusion of anything else—and he worried about academia falling under hierarchical thrall to a few star professors. “It’s like higher education has discovered the megachurch,” he told me.

[T]he political theorist Thomas L. Dumm, described the conveyance of moocs to weaker universities as “eating our seed corn.”

Duke U.’s Undergraduate Faculty Derails Plan for Online Courses for Credit.” Steve Kolowich. The Chronicle of Higher Education (April 30, 2013): “Duke signed a contract last year with 2U pledging to develop online courses, the first of which would be offered on the 2U platform in September. But a late push by skeptical faculty members, many of whom resented the Duke administration for not consulting with them before entering into a preliminary agreement with 2U, set the stage for a close vote.”

Why Some Colleges Are Saying No to MOOC Deals, at Least for Now.” Steve Kolowich. The Chronicle of Higher Education (April 29, 2013): “Th[e] known costs, combined with uncertainty about whether the MOOCs will make enough money for colleges to recover their investments, might be enough to deter some institutions, says R. Michael Tanner, a vice president and chief academic officer at the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities—especially public universities that are facing budget cuts.”

Mind the money, not the Moocs.” Steve Smith. Times Higher Education (April 18, 2013):

I also think that the likely impact of Moocs is being overstated. That is not to say that they will not transform much of the way in which university education is delivered, but I do not think that Moocs themselves can replace the education offered by or the brand value associated with traditional universities. Not every university will face the same level of threat, mind you; Moocs pose a very different challenge depending on which part of the university ecosystem you inhabit. They also need to be monetised, and to find a way of linking study with assessment.

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