Are MOOCs neoliberalist?
George Siemens in his post says:
The more prominent argument emerging is one of classifying MOOCs as neo-liberalism. This is disingenuous. First, I don’t think anyone actually knows what neoliberalism means other than “that thing that I’m thinking about that I really don’t like”. Second, if we do take a stance that neoliberalism is some combination of open markets, deregulation, globalization, small government, low taxes, death of the public organization, and anti-union, then MOOCs are not at all neoliberalist.
What is neoliberalism (Dag Einar Thorsen and Amund Lie)
“Neoliberalism is in the first instance a theory of political economic practices that proposes that human well-being can best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within an institutional framework characterized by strong private property rights, free markets and free trade. The role of the state is to create and preserve an institutional framework appropriate to such practices. The state has to guarantee, for example, the quality and integrity of money.
Are MOOCs the consequences of unintentional actions and decisions by the MOOC providers?
I wonder if some of the actions are intentional, though due to complexity of circumstances, the consequences are not easily predictable. Indeed, it is like chess playing in an international arena, where all the MOOCs creators, Venture Capitalists and hackers are putting their best investments into MOOCs, together with the HE institutions with those “games”. We could use computer simulations and sophisticated software to generate different future education scenarios, and come up with results as anticipated. There are however implications – like the “neoliberalism” – with privatization of HE, monetization of courses and professors’ webinars, seminars, books and videos, etc.
There are always intentions and purpose embedded in any MOOCs, and I don’t believe you could get a Certificate (from the elite HEs) really for free in a capitalist and commercial system. Otherwise, who would go to study with the elite HEs for fees? In other words, do not dream of getting a totally “free” great degree for absolutely free without terms and conditions, in a highly structured and regulated Higher Education System of the 21 st century. This may be obvious, though I present these ideas and concepts all based on my own ideas and experience, and I haven’t copied any other’s thoughts or from any other web sites or educators.
I would like to re-post my views of my previous posts below:
What would happen next? I would predict that MOOCs soon be taken up not only by elite institutions, but also by private and for-profit institutions and venture capitalists. This would soon lead to a complete privatization and marketization of MOOCs on a much wider scale, likely with developed countries like USA, UK, Australia and Canada. This would soon lead to “user-choice” based on a “free-market” where governments would need to “waive” for quality and accreditation as the MOOCs are not fees-charging courses. Would this lead to a significant closure of HE institutions or colleges who couldn’t compete with the MOOCs? The current trend tends to favor a more teacher-centred approach in xMOOCs where super-rockstar professors and elite institutions would take up 80 -90% market share of MOOCs.
The trend of MOOCs also clearly indicates that privatization would soon happen, and that those institutions who do not adapt to such competition would soon has to change its vision and mission to embrace online education and learning in order to survive.
Postscript: Here are my further comments posted on George Siemens’ post
I think privatization and monetization of HE is now a trend that could be hard to revert back. Universities can only afford to succeed once they are in partnership with the major MOOCs providers and there is simpler no route of return. You said:”The faculty response to MOOCs is particularly important. Almost every major MOOC initiative over the past 18 months has developed without the inclusion of the faculty voice.” I wonder what percentage of faculty would like to be involved in MOOCs because of the Hall of Fame effect as first promoted in the initial xMOOCs. It wouldn’t be surprising as super-rock professors would like to teach the world and be famous, isn’t that the reality? May be there are also altruistic reasons behind those professors who would like to contribute in making MOOC a success. MAKE IN HERE syndrome could also explain why most faculty would like to see MOOCs work in their country. John