MOOC – challenges and opportunities to Higher Education – Part 2

This is my extension of previous post.

Is massively open online education a threat or a blessing?

This is an astonishing example of the way MOOCs — massively open online courses — may be able to transform education as we know it, changing it from the privilege of an elite into a shared commons that is open and free to everyone.

There are grounds for concern, though. Some of these came to the fore this week in an open letter from the San Jose State University philosophy department to Michael Sandel, a Harvard professor who offers a MOOC version of his famous class on justice. The letter, published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, raises important issues about the use of MOOCs within traditional university settings. Part of the problem, they write, is the danger:

… that two classes of universities will be created: one, well-funded colleges and universities in which privileged students get their own real professor; the other, financially stressed private and public universities in which students watch a bunch of videotaped lectures and interact, if indeed any interaction is available on their home campuses, with a professor that this model of education has turned into a glorified teaching assistant.

This is not surprising as this “counter revolution” unfolds.

In this What does it mean to have more moocs? I wrote:

Justin sees MOOCs in an unique way in this post on Why do professors hate MOOCs let me count whys.  ”Faculty members must feel this, & thus supporting MOOCs like digging their own graves.

More MOOCs would lead to more cost-effectiveness in the delivering of courses for elite institutions, though this could also lead to a decrease in the demand of courses offered by “traditional Higher Education Institutions” as the students flocked to the MOOCs.  Would this lead to decrease in the demand of faculty professors?  Would this explain why MOOCs are welcome by some (super professors), but not all other professors, especially if their jobs are at risk as a consequence? “Why educators should hate MOOC” as concluded by Justin.

Indeed, the education chains are competing with the other education chains (similar to supply chain in Logistics) – (Universities chain (elites) versus universities chain (public/private for profit), MOOCs versus other MOOCs and non MOOCs, Venture capitalists versus entrepreneurs versus humanists/socialists/activists/DIY/Pundits etc.). More centrally-distributed (hub-spokes) form would emerge as the number of registrations increase in MOOCs.

What would be the trend of xMOOCs? My share here on what would post xMOOCs look like?

I think the critical point relates to “massive” and “open”. So far if massive number of students are enrolled, due mainly to the courses being “free” without payment, people would tend to believe that these would increase effectiveness and efficiency in terms of cost and QUALITY. As providers of education, who wouldn’t want to do that? Freebies have a price to pay, though as it doesn’t account for any of those issues as raised by the professors and those “learners” or “participants/potential students” of MOOC.

What do you see would be the implications of these “movements”?


MOOC – a threat or a blessing? “Is massively open online education a threat or a blessing?”

Why Professors at San Jose State Won’t Use a Harvard Professor’s MOOC?


See this post on MOOCs – Colleges consider accepting massive open online course credits.


3 thoughts on “MOOC – challenges and opportunities to Higher Education – Part 2

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