Google teams up with Harvard and MIT to help boost free online courses

Casey Newton, CanTech Letter, Sept 11, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Marc Canter asked me what I thought about this, and that's how I found out about it. "Google said today that it will develop software for edX, a nonprofit created by Harvard and MIT that solicits and distributes online courses for free... he idea is to spur development of so-called massive online open courses, building what edX's president told Slate could become 'a YouTube for MOOCs." My response to Marc? Mostly, it's a case of the big organizations staking their turf (and trampling. The danger for them is that MOOCs will be (a0 something that don't really resemble videos, and instead resemble RSS readers, and (b) something created by learners for each other, rather than by publishers to be sold as consumables. Imagine what YouTube would look like without any user-created videos. That's what a YouTube of MOOCs will look like, unless something significant changes.

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