Will SOOCs eat MOOCs for breakfast?

Unattributed, OGP.me, Jul 16, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes

You can almost hear the disbelief in Audrey Watters's voice as she says "wow" on reading this article from Pearson advocating a form of online learning that removes "unwanted diversity" from open online courses. Yes, you read that correctly, and it's not out of context. "This 'unwanted diversity' and one-size-fits-all approach makes peer-to-peer collaboration largely ineffective, leading to poor outcomes, and high dropouts." The replacement "selectively open online course" (or SOOC) is suggested - though I would replace the term with "Closed Online Course," which is what it is. This perspective is related to this article in the journal Higher Learning Research Communications in which Watson Scott Swail suggests "we might need to decide, on a policy basis, who we want to go to college, who we want to succeed, and who will pay for it." The list in the article PDF makes it clear who Swail thinks create the need for closed online courses: part time, low GPA, older, non-white (except for Asian), first generation, low income, etc. Those are the people that real university students pay huge tuitions to make sure their alma maters exclude. And this whole open online course thing is messing it up. No wonder there's such opposition.

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