MOOCs’ Contradictions (I.H.E.)

September 11, 2012
By David Touve

“On the other hand, those universities now experimenting with MOOC offerings are quick to clarify that they will grant course credit or college degrees only to those students who first pass through the highly selective admissions process, which occurs before these students ever register for a course — online or on-campus.”

“As a result, the nature of these recent experiments in massive and open online courses risks triggering a paradox in certain galaxies of the higher education universe: evidence of mastery in university coursework will warrant only a certificate, while evidence of mastery in work prior to university coursework will determine the degree. Simply stated, the line between an online certificate and a degree from any particular institution shall be drawn by the admissions office.”

As the article asks near the end: is it chunks of matter or ideas or right answers or genuine insights that warrant a university degree? The current trend seems to be taking shape:

University of Alberta suspends admission to 20 arts programs

About Ryan C. Fowler

Ryan is a curricular fellow at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington D.C. He also teaches at Franklin and Marshall College and Lancaster Theological Seminary.
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