Anti-MOOC really is the new black.

14 08 2013

Silly me. When George Siemens wrote that “Critiquing MOOCs is now more fashionable than advocating for them,” I didn’t believe him. When the nice people at Slate gave me space in their online magazine to stir up trouble, I figured it was just because trouble attracts attention.

But now I’m thinking I’ve been reading the tea leaves totally wrong. ForbesForbes! – , the same magazine that published a particular vicious attack on my Slate article that I won’t link to, has published another contributor’s essay to which I will. It’s entitled, “MOOCs are Toast or at Least Should Be.” Here’s my favorite part:

Many in corporate America have been watching the MOOC phenomenon in academia to see if these massive open online courses hold any promise for executive education. Obviously, I think there are opportunities for corporations in the online learning space, but not as MOOC providers. I believe MOOCs will soon be viewed for what they are, a futile experiment.

This comes on top of a Wired Campus post last week declaring “The MOOC ‘Revolution’ May Not Be as Disruptive as Some Had Imagined,” and a Harvard dude in a piece I read this morning pronouncing that we’re “already in a post-MOOC era.”

Now I realize this is hardly unconditional surrender. As a ton of people on Twitter pointed out last night in a very good discussion, the “MOOCs Are Toast” Forbes guy still thinks Big Data will solve all of higher education’s problems. It won’t, but I don’t think that will do anywhere near as much damage as MOOCs could have even if administrations try weaponize it against faculty. And while I’m not sure most of these post-MOOC era sorta- kinda- MOOCs are all that much better than the corpse from which they are currently emerging, these OOCs (Open Online Courses that are not massive) aren’t exactly going to replace faculty everywhere, as the MOOC Messiah Squad aimed to do until very recently.

Still, now is not the time for concerned faculty to lay down their guard. To adopt a zombie metaphor, MOOCs may be dead, but we still need to dismember the body and bury the limbs separately to make sure that its evil spawn don’t come back stronger than ever before. If I’ve learned anything during this MOOC craze, it’s that educational technology issues are too important to leave to educational technologists.

That said, I’d like to take this opportunity to announce the end of this blog’s long-running “All MOOCs All the Time” status. I’ll still write about MOOCs here and elsewhere as the spirit moves me. [Indeed, it's about time for me to start thinking about my MOOC paper for AHA 2014.] However, in terms of 2-3 posts of original MOOC thinking per week, I’m afraid my well may have run dry.*

* You can unfollow the blog now if you like, or wait until the refrigeration posts start in about a month or so. You can also look for me writing on other academic and academia-related subjects in other places very soon, the links to which I’ll blog here as they get posted.

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17 responses

15 08 2013
An open letter to Stephen Downes. | More or Less Bunk

[…] really nice of you to have linked to my last post just as I’m sorta- kinda- trying to move beyond MOOC commentary, as I still remember our last […]

15 08 2013
CogDog

I have greatly enjoyed your MOOC writings, but as someone who has worked 20+ years as an education technologist (and who teaches, writes, makes art) I do resent the dismissal if everyone in the field. Lumping people into categories and making flip generalizations does not help. I have known inspirational and gifted faculty as well as ones who could touch teach their way out of a cardboard box. I don’t make generalizations about teachers as a whole

15 08 2013
Jonathan Rees

Cogdog,

How about:

“…it’s that educational technology issues are too important to leave SOLELY to educational technologists?”

That’s actually a better reflection of what I meant.

15 08 2013
CogDog

Works for me, thanks. I’ve seen way too much of these camps.

And I like wearing black

15 08 2013
Tom OD

Go MOOCs! Those drawing the conclusions now will not end up being the ones that count. You really do need an imagination or is vision a better word?

17 08 2013
MOOC | Annotary

[…] moreorlessbunk.wordpress.com […]

19 08 2013
Anti-MOOC really is the new black. | juandon. Innovación y conocimiento

[…] Anti-MOOC really is the new black.. […]

27 08 2013
“War!…What is it good for?” | More or Less Bunk

[…] when I wrote that “Anti-MOOC really is the new black,” I wasn’t kidding. From Inside Higher Ed (including an interview w/ yours […]

1 09 2013
The very slow tsunami: MOOCs and the Hype Cycle

[…] reports of these deaths are greatly exaggerated. In fact, as a Slate writer put it, “Anti-MOOC really is the new black.“  San Jose’s State University’s MOOCs-for-credit experiment has ended in […]

6 09 2013
Why Coursera and Udacity are the worst things that ever happened to MOOCs. | More or Less Bunk

[…] values) down the throats of both students and faculty alike. I look forward to the inevitable, fast-approaching, post-xMOOC world because it will almost certainly be a period of real pedagogical innovation […]

8 09 2013
Why Coursera and Udacity are the worst things that ever happened to MOOCs. (More or Less Bunk) | Sunoikisis

[…] values) down the throats of both students and faculty alike. I look forward to the inevitable, fast-approaching, post-xMOOC world because it will almost certainly be a period of real pedagogical innovation […]

13 09 2013
MOOCs and the Gartner Hype Cycle: A very slow tsunami | PandoDaily

[…] reports of these deaths are greatly exaggerated. In fact, as a Slate writer put it, “Anti-MOOC really is the new black.“  San Jose’s State University’s MOOCs-for-credit experiment has ended in […]

19 09 2013
The MOOC hype cycle is older than you think. | More or Less Bunk

[…] that author was making fun of my suggestion that anti-MOOC is new black, this entire scaling down of expectations strikes me as very important. When MOOC advocates start […]

24 10 2013
MOOCs and the Cycle of Hype | The Scholarly Kitchen

[…] learning; yes, they can. In recent months, the initial excitement seems to have settled into a general skepticism and a feeling that perhaps the MOOC was all shiny ephemeral promise and no boring, sustainable […]

15 11 2013
The Spectrum of Opinion About MOOCs | EdTechDev

[…] Anti-MOOC really is the new black […]

19 12 2013
Does gloating make me a bad person? | More or Less Bunk

[…] blinded by technological utopian doubletalk, most of the professoriate did not start speaking out until recently. Well, I have good news and bad news for you, brothers and sisters in academic […]

11 02 2014
The MOOC don’t work ’cause the vandals took the handles. | More or Less Bunk

[…] way the wind blows and the wind has not been blowing in the direction of MOOCs for some months now. Anti-MOOC really is the new black. That’s why all the alleged “MOOC skeptics” that the Washington Times has […]

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