Size Isn't Everything

Cathy N. Davidson, Tidsskriftet for Universiteternes Efter- og Videreuddannelse, Dec 11, 2012
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I have to admit, I am one of the people bemused by all the attention MOOCs are getting, not so much that I would join some sort of anti-MOOC brigade, but enough that I know that were I know so closely associated with the concepted, I would by now be one of the people yearning for journalists to write about something else. Of course, a good amount of the journalism about MOOCs is a part of the anti-MOOC brigade, and this item is in part a case in point. Davidson summarizes, "Far too many of the MOOC's championed in the (Forbes) article use talking heads and multiple-choice quizzes in fairly standard subject areas in conventional disciplines taught by famous teachers at elite universities. There is little that prepares students for learning in the fuzzy, merged world that Negroponte sees as necessary for thriving in the 21st century." For me, what's revolutionary about MOOCs isn't size, it's openness - and openness isn't just about free content, it's about ownership over the process. And I don't see anyone who is bored (yet) of talking about open education.

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