Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

This paper (22 page PDF) argues that "the design and iteration of MOOCs reflect the preferences and reproduces the advantages of an already elite group; namely, learners with a college degree." Now the paper discusses only "Coursera- and edX-style xMOOCs produced in the United States (USA) predominantly in English" so perhaps we could hardly have expected different results. Still, it's an interesting exploration. However, the paper is not well-written. The author struggles with style and clarity, and frequently assigns agency incorrectly (for example, saying things like "MOOCs in this paper refer to Coursera- and edX-style xMOOCs..." when it's the paper that refers to edX-style MOOCs, not the MOOCs; even the title is unclear, using the word 'for' instead of a verb, and suggesting that MOOCs, rather than their creators, 'struggle' to do something). I recommend that all writers study effective writing principles (this, interestingly, is precisely the sort of background underrepresented learners are lacking and not provided in most traditional MOOCs).

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Sept 27, 2023 12:19 a.m.

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