In This Online Psychology Class, the Key Words Are Real Time (NYT)

Reeve Hamilton, September 6 2013, New York Times.

Psych 301 at the University of Texas at Austin is now a SMOC (synchronous massive online course), streamed live from an on-campus control room.

“’The territory is so new here,’ Mr. Gosling, a tenured professor, said the next morning. ‘Are we essentially televising a class or are we trying to make a kind of educational TV show?’ The answer, he said, is probably somewhere in between, following a trend toward online courses intended to extend the reach of higher education beyond a university’s campus.”

[…]

“The structure of the course invites a comparison to the massive open online courses, known as MOOCs, which are offered free — though typically not for credit — to anyone with an Internet connection. U.T.-Austin will launch its first four MOOCs this semester. But to take the synchronous class, which is offered for credit, students not enrolled at the university must pay $550 and block off their Tuesday and Thursday evenings to participate in real time.”

Several quotations are posted because so much of this article is fascinating! This course is synchronous, so not a MOOC, but potentially massive. The instructors are comparing it to educational television, despite being online with students in real time. Important questions are being raised here!

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