Massive online learning and the unbundling of undergraduate education
Jul 19, 2012
Commentary by Stephen Downes

The secondary wave of interest in massive open online learning is now upon is, with the education blog commenators reacting to the spate of news stories recently following Coursera's expansion. We have for example this post on the 'unbundling' of education that the MOOC is supposed to represent. "This unbundling will happen in three ways: for the whole college education, for the individual course, and for the way that college is paid for." Of course, proposnents of online learning have talked of unbundling for decades; that was one of the major features of my 1998 'Future' paper and of course of David Noble's criticism of digital diploma mills in the 1990s. So, no, unbundling is not what MOOCs are all about, but observers could be forgiven for noticing that this is one aspect of them.

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