Putting College Under the MOOC Microscope (Science, Food, Etc.)

Friday, January 3, 2014

Full blog post here.

Another year draws to an end, but not before yet another”MOOCs aren’t as good as college” story slips into the media (NPR, in this case). Amazing insights are present there, like that MOOCs don’t provide as much personal, face-to-face interaction as one can potentially get in a college class. Wow, no one could ever have figured that out. Also, a very small fraction of people who sign up for a class (requiring in some cases literally one button-click of a mouse on a website) don’t view all the lectures or complete all the assessments. Well, blow me down. And the conclusion in the article? “We have a lousy product.”

Lousy??? I’m really fed up with the anti-MOOC movement, especially when it comes from within academia. Despite my snide sarcasm above, I do appreciate that much of this continued MOOC pushback is a response to the MOOC overhype that both preceded and overlapped it. What many MOOC dissenters seem to miss is that most MOOC advocates (including myself) never argued they are a “replacement” for a college education and experience. No way– not even close. The media and a very few zealots played that line up, and they were wrong from day 1.

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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