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. Forbes – Forbes! – , 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.