What’s In It for Us? (IHE)

February 12, 2014
By Carl Straumsheim

Cornell University and the University of Texas at Austin may have trumpeted their partnerships with — and pledged millions to — the massive open online course provider edX, but to no avail: Their students don’t seem to understand why.

“A year after UT began rolling out nine Massive Online Open Courses, the results are in,” The Daily Texan wrote in a Jan. 29 editorial, which appears to have been inspired by a recent article in The Texas Tribune. Among the “results” are completion rates ranging from 1 to 13 percent, the lack of credit granting courses and the $150,000 to $300,000 production costs.

“The university hasn’t laid out long-term goals for the MOOCs, and the numbers don’t bode particularly well for the courses’ overall success,” the editorial reads. “We’re confused as to why an unproven and unused educational experiment that isn’t even aimed at UT students is something the system feels they should continue funding.”

Members of the editorial board did not respond to a request for comments.

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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