There’s an interesting article in the Chronicle of Higher Education this week by Steve Kolowich, entitled “The MOOC Hype Fades, in 3 Charts”, reporting on a new survey of academic leaders about their attitudes toward the MOOC phenomenon. Essentially, the results indicated a high degree of disillusionment with this approach, reflecting its failure to deliver on promises related to cost-reduction and/or income generation.
So just what are MOOCs, anyway, and why should we care? Aren’t they just hype, or worse – a gimmick dreamed up by the for-profit sector to flimflam the non-elites? There’s certainly an element of marketing gee-whiz. The first MOOCs were largely show-off technology, but also partly marketing devices used by their universities to publicize special areas of expertise.
There’s an interesting discussion currently underway on one of the Chronicle of Higher Education blogs regarding the issue of students transferring skills and techniques learned in one class to another class. The original article and a lot of the comments support the idea that transferability tends to be pretty low, and that while faculty are sensitive to and generally try to enhance transferability,