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.
I do a lot of thinking when participating in online discussions. One of my early posts here was about how such discussions have served as a significant source of professional interaction despite my current lack of major university affiliation. Traveling out to professional conference isn’t an option for me either, so I spend perhaps more time that I ought to in online discussions.
There has been in the Chronicle of Higher Education and BigThink blogs recently considerable debate about the value and role of massive online open-source courses (MOOC’s, in the jargon.) If you’ve been stuck in Lower Slobbovia State U. for the last year and a half or so, you may have missed the emergence of this phenomenon;
Recently, there’s been a good deal of discussion in the professional blogosphere about the emerging role of what have been termed “massive open online courses”, or MOOC’s. Starting with MIT’s Open Courseware initiative some years ago, MOOC’s have suddenly emerged in the last year as a major force to be reckoned with in higher education.