#MOOC disasters are human and part of educational innovation and why sandboxes are good

Inge de Waard, Arthur Fontaine's Blog, Feb 08, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Inge de Waard writes, "my heart really goes out to Fatimah Wirth, for she dared to test new approaches but ... fell into the trap that all of us tend to fall into at one time or another: dreaming and as a result wanting to go too far, too quickly." She is referring of course to the recent Coursera course that was cancelled due to a failure of the system usedto assign students into groups. I think she makes a good point - in many contexts, you would simply pick up the pieces and muddle through, but in strict regimented formal education there was no choice but to cancel the course. "It is the formal part of the course that got people anxious. Formality puts a much bigger demand on any course: instructions, time, ... Informality keeps it  easier to adapt and be creative." I live for informality; when people start structuring what I do, my first inclination is to run for the hills, where I can be free agin.

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