“The MOOC Racket”

25 07 2013

Right after I published this post, the nice people at Slate e-mail and asked me to rework it for a general audience. You can read the results here. I needed to include a lot of exposition, so it’s more like a reworking of everything I’ve written this summer. Nevertheless, regular readers will at least find a few new laugh lines.

If you happen to be visiting here from Slate, welcome and feel free to look around. Some of my favorites MOOC posts at MOLB include this, this, this and this.

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7 responses

25 07 2013
walthamwatchdog

Congratulations, Jonathan!!!

25 07 2013
RAB

Congratulations! You well deserve a wider audience!

25 07 2013
theelderj

Congratulations indeed. I hope that your criticisms will be heard in the cacophony.

I originally misread the title as “The MOOC Rocket”. Both titles, work; the irony of my misreading might be lost on many as some kind of Thomas Friedmanesque the world-is-flat cheerleading.

25 07 2013
VanessaVaile

Going big time … what next? public debate with Friedman? If so tell tickets to that one. I’ll slap this puppy up on  Madness.  

As someone cut off from from traditional higher for decades and learning (including 3-4 additional languages) on my own for lack of options, I admit to having major issues with categorizing continuing education for autodidacts and lifetime learning as “nerdy edu-tainment for people who are so inclined.”  

On the other hand – and in the interest of even-handedness and curmudgeonly inclinations, I recently got on a edu-tainment consumer’s case for being just that without a thought for to the implications for institutional, future of higher HE or academic labor (except to dismiss them). 

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25 07 2013
dpedeva

I posted your Slate article in a Facebook group #EDCMOOC, and it is generating quite a lot of discussion. The members of this group are some of the MOOC students who took the University of Edinburgh course “Digital Cultures and E-learning” course. The course was designed more like a cMOOC (students connecting with each other via Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and blogging about their experience) rather than an xMOOC even though it was delivered through Coursera. Its students come from all over the world, most of them are educators (higher ed or instructional designers), and the majority of them have a post secondary education (This is based on some statistics that I saw about the class few months ago). Some of the participants are MOOC enthusiasts, and others are quite critical of MOOCs. I am also reading the comments under the Slate article- some of them seem quite unhappy with your arguments. Thank you for being a modern Socrates :)

25 07 2013
Jonathan Rees

You couldn’t pay me to read the comments at Slate.

26 07 2013
Luciene

With all respect, I couldn’t conclude afterall what you are actually standing for when it comes to access to education after reading your article… “Stop the MOOC movement so the jobs of mediocre professors won’t be threated”. That’s the strongest message I can get from your arguments, and seems so sad and unlikely to come from a serious academic to me. A good argument could really come out of a discussion you suggested — but did not based in any facts or research — when you said that people can not possibly learn from an online lecture. They probably can’t, if they try to get education exclusively from those kinds of resources, but who in the MOOC world ever said they should? I’m really interested in this discussion and I am, obviously, an enthusiast of the revolution technology is bringing to education and access to information. I read your article with high expectations of hearing the cons of what we are trying to reproduce here in Brazil, a continental country with a huge gap in education, but I ended frustrated. I consider myself part of a group of professionals that are engaging in building something new and important to the future of education, and I really beleive that we have to debate every aspect of the impacts of this revolution seriously and with compromise. I’ll be sincerelly waiting for your stronger arguments and more reference in a next opportunity.

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