September 10, 2013
By Gary S. May
When a new product is launched, particularly in technology, people often rush to be among its early adopters. The sudden explosion of users invariably reveals bugs and glitches that need to be addressed.
“This is analogous to what we appear to be witnessing right now with massive open online courses. An unrelenting stream of attention-grabbing announcements is being followed by closer inspection – and the realization that, although MOOCs are a novel approach to education, they may not be a panacea.
“A realistic time frame for evaluating the successes, failures, and unanticipated results is still likely another three to five years away. But, as Wilbur Wright said about learning to fly: “If you are looking for perfect safety, you will do well to sit on a fence and watch the birds; but if you really wish to learn, you must mount a machine and become acquainted with its tricks by actual trial.”
More on “enhancement” rather than serious “disruption.”