Everybody Wants to MOOC the World

Michael Feldstein, Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, Nov 06, 2012
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Michael Feldstein writes, "it’s worth asking what it means for the traditional LMS players to be marketing themselves as platforms for MOOCs and other open courses." In particular, he looks at Instructure's Canvas. "The main new capability," he writes, "seems to be the catalog that allows courses to be discovered across institutions." More interesting, he says, are the comments made by Instructure executives, specifically those to the effect that MOOCs are more about open education, that you don't need a fancy business model to build them, and that services like Canvas make MOOCs feasible for everyone. It makes sense to question the innovation. Peter Levine of Udacity says "Udacity aims to democratize education by delivering world-class coursework to hundreds of thousands of students everywhere." But that's hardly innovative (even if Levine thinks the software will "eat" education). What's missing in all of these, says Feldstein, are first, a sustainability model, and second, pedagogy. "While the cMOOCs are doing some interesting experimentation in pedagogy, I see little innovation in either course design or platform affordances in the xMOOCs."

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