Can MOOCs Save Academic Freedom?

K. Edward Renner, Ars Technica, Mar 11, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Interesting angle on MOOCs and not one that would spring to mind immediately. But... could MOOCs save academic freedom? Well, that depends a lot on what is threatening it.  In this article, the concerns are globalization and commercialization. "MOOCs have become the last stand for the defense of academic freedom because ownership of knowledge and information is the key to controlling the political power and social beliefs and values determining the distribution of wealth in the 21st Century." How can the typically 'weak warriors' of academia take advantage of this opportunity? "We must own and use MOOCs to elevate general public knowledge to be an effective civic moderator of wealth, power and belief." Personally, I believe there is no freedom of any kind without independence of means, and this is what we should strive toward for society as a whole. And that, not the protection of professor rights, is the purpose of the MOOC.

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