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There are 8 comments on Registration Opens for BU’s First MOOCs

  1. And just wait, one day BU and other universities will find a way to monetize online learning, convincing students that it’s ‘better,’ and allowing BU to further reduce those pesky overhead costs of one lecturer limited to, on average, say 100 or so students.

    I can just see the administrators licking their corporate, financial spreadsheet chops. Now stick in an underpaid, exploited adjunct, and we can give BU’s president a juicy raise over the appalling salary he already earns.

  2. Ryan,

    I’ve only seen a few brief clips of MOOCs myself, but the instructors teaching them seemed like passionate and knowledgeable teachers…I’m sure there are/will be crappy ones, but we can say the same thing about standard in-person teachers. In principle, why can’t MOOCs be as good or better than conventional pedagogy? Perhaps you can say more about what your concern is.

    To me, the arrival of MOOCs isn’t the problem. The problem is the monetization of education in general and the rise of credentialism in an overly competitive job-market. I also think the purpose of university education is unclear, both to some people working in the university, and to the general public. You’ll get a different answer to “What is university for?” depending on who you’re asking, and this ambiguity of purpose is part of the problem. We should focus on fixing these issues (among others). But it’s a mistake to think that MOOCs are the problem here. Online learning merely provides another medium for the same problems to express themselves.

  3. I just spent 65K on a completely online advanced degree. Nine out of ten instructors were excellent. The key to the success of online classes is no different than “sittin’ in the room wid you” classes: if the instructor is excellent, and engaged, the class will be excellent and engaging. It really doesn’t matter how the communication is effected as long as the communication happens and there always has to be one on one with students and instructors regarding work submitted. Grades if used must reflect what is submitted. These classes are already monetized if credentials are the endgame. To have a system where education continues at no cost just simply makes the entire world better. The adjustment toward education (having useful knowledge) vs credentials (having a piece of paper that “Says” you have useful knowledge) will happen eventually, and turmoil will ensue until then. The carbon footprint of online education cannot be overstated: No driving, parking, consuming a space in a classroom, or renting a room away from home. My largest point is, the market for classroom space and credentials is NOT the same market for MOOC and paying online students. They are an entirely different market, and a huge market, and it would behoove the academics to understand who they are and what they need. It can only be good for an institution to be offering high quality “education” in an online format: good for their “Brand,” good for their environment, and good for the world to have so many more well educated humans who will appreciate being educated. Are institutions like Harvard able to fit their foggy old heads around an asynchronous classroom without seeing it as a threat, probably not…and the world will leave them behind as a result. Yours very truly, Mac Johnson BA, MLS, MFA of Houston Texas.

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