Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Arguing Against MOOCs

There are plenty of good reasons to be skeptical of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Recently, the Philosophy Department at San Jose State University wrote an open letter that captured many of the problems. For example, they are just as static as any lecture, they are outdated quickly, and they can make courses overly homogeneous. These are the types of nuts-and-bolts arguments academics should use to engage those who want to push MOOCs into more universities.

What we don't want is this: the Chronicle of Higher Education has an article about a conference that focused on the dark side of the digital that seemed to attack online learning in general, framing as an attack on, well, everything (even GPS sucks, apparently).

Fair enough. There are plenty of people skeptical of any type of online learning. But arguing effectively against MOOCs requires accepting--as the San Jose State professors explicitly did--that blended classes done well can provide a rich experience for students. What we have here instead is what the Chronicle notes is a "dense fog of theoretical jargon."  Since MOOCs are by definition very public and more people are hearing about them, good arguments against them should also be made in ways that people can easily understand. The echo chamber does us no good.


AmericanBobble 8:16 AM  

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