MOOC-Covered Towers? Online Education's Coming Impact on Traditional College

Scott D. Miller, Extreme Tech, Jan 28, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I tend not to link to Huffington Post articles because the pages have so many widgets they're unpleasant to read. But I wanted to like to this item, the upshot of which is "The challenge is to figure out how to embrace MOOCs and other technological innovations so that they best complement, not replace, that primary and original learning experience." Fair enough, but as Lydia Cline points our in an article, Udacity recently sold a MOOC to San Jose State University, and she suggests (in this LinkedIn thread) that "what I see happening is the flagship MOOC providers (the ones run by Ivy League profs) selling canned courses to all other schools, and the profs at those schools being turned into TAs for the courses. Or just fired and replaced with cheaper TAs." Of course, thus has ever been the lament of traditional faculty regarding online learning. And it begs the question: if they can be replaced by a MOOC, for half the cost or less, why shouldn't they be. Most responses are, if course, in the form of "well they can't be." Well, fine, if so then do what you do and quality will out. But what about the oither possibility? What then?

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