Forget MOOCs (Slate)

By Will Oremus

Posted Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013

Free online classes shouldn’t replace teachers and classrooms. They should make them better.

“For a year or two there, free online classes seemed like they just might be the future of higher education. Why, some influential computer scientists wondered, should there be thousands of colleges and universities around the country all teaching the same classes to small groups of students, when you could get one brilliant professor to teach the material to the whole world at once via the Internet? In a March 2012 Wired cover story about the phenomenon, Udacity founder and Stanford artificial-intelligence whiz Sebastian Thrun predicted that within 50 years there would be only 10 institutions of higher learning left in the world. Udacity, he reckoned, might be one of them.”

“Whether or not SPOCs [“small private online classes”] amount to some sort of pedagogical revolution, it seems clear that they hold more promise than pure MOOCs when it comes to delivering students a full educational experience—not to mention saving academics’ jobs.”

For friends of Sunoikisis, this model will look somewhat familiar.

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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