Koller, Thicke, and Noble: The “Blurred Lines” Between Traditional Online Courses and MOOCs

David Wiley, iterating toward openness, Jan 02, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

David Wiley takes a look at MOOCs (well, xMOOCs) and concludes that the are really no different from traditional online courses, except for the branding. And the significant change, he argues, is that the platform not takes top billing while the institutions are second fiddle. "When institutional brands like Stanford, MIT, and Harvard are willing to be subordinated to platform brands like Coursera and EdX, at least in course marketing, what does it portend?" And, channeling David Noble's digital scepticism, suggests that it means "a future of a quality-eroding, profit-grabbing commercialization of higher education masquerading under the banner of 'widening access and improving quality.'" This is a bad outcome, no doubt. But the existing situation is no better. MIT and Harvard are every bit as involved in 'quality-eroding, profit-grabbing commercialization' as the rest of them.

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