Napster, Udacity, and the Academy

Clay Shirky, Weblog, Nov 19, 2012
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Clay Shirky on MOOCs: "Open systems are open. For people used to dealing with institutions that go out of their way to hide their flaws, this makes these systems look terrible at first. But anyone who has watched a piece of open source software improve, or remembers the Britannica people throwing tantrums about Wikipedia, has seen how blistering public criticism makes open systems better. And once you imagine educating a thousand people in a single class, it becomes clear that open courses, even in their nascent state, will be able to raise quality and improve certification faster than traditional institutions can lower cost or increase enrollment." Not just that, though. Shirky admits he received a Yale education, and he isn't the first to leverage his university pedigree into a successful media career. But if MOOCs have the impact I hope they have, going to Yale won't mean doodly. You'll have to earn your influence like the rest of us, instead of buying it at Yale.

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