Who wants to be a superprofessor when that requires having Coursera step all over your traditional prerogatives? Here’s Karen Head, who’s working on a Freshman Comp MOOC at Georgia Tech:
We quickly discovered that we must also negotiate with some unexpected outside constituencies. A representative from Coursera (the platform we must use) contacted recipients of the Gates MOOC grants asking all the recipients to form a collaborative led by a Coursera representative to discuss course design. While the explicit message was one of helpfulness, the implicit message felt intrusive and seemed more about Coursera’s desire to ensure a certain continuity of experience for its users…
While all university instructors are subject to certain parameters, like established regulations regarding curriculum, I have never had to concern myself with any kind of conformity of delivery.
I’m really glad she’s going to be blogging this experience at Wired Campus for the next few months as I’m really interested in MOOC design, but since failure is not an option for Coursera and the Gates Foundation I predict this will not end well from Head’s point of view.
Who wants to be a superprofessor when, according to NBC News, Philip Zelikow had to spend “hundreds of hours” preparing for a course that he’s been teaching for 16 years? I’ve seen enough of his course to know that’s accurate.
I’m not just talking about the polish of Zelikow’s lectures here. Think about it: If I want to change what history I cover, all I have to do is edit my online syllabus and talk about something different that day. Zelikow probably needs to get Coursera to change the website for him, as well as a camera crew. It would be like trying to do a three-point turn with an ocean liner.
There’s a line in that NBC News story from the amazing Siva V. that’s sure to become an instant classic:
“Imagine taking a university and removing all the really fun stuff,” Vaidyanathan said. “And all you’re left with is me talking to you through a camera. That’s not that good for anybody.”
He’s obviously talking about MOOCs from the student perspective, but the very last part of that quote suggests that this sentiment applies equally well to the superprofessors.