Of Machine Guns and MOOCs: 21st Century Engineering Disasters

Pat Lockley, Journal of Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics, Apr 25, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

As someone heavily implicated in the development of MOOCs, I have to be accountable if, as this author suggests, the impact of the MOOC is more skin to that of the machine gun than to anything that would actually help massive numbers of people. But I am not a member of the military-industrial complex (nor even a particularly good public servant) and it is not with the militarization of learning in mind that the MOOC was developed (the author's allusions to COBOL and SCORM, neither of which have anything to to with MOOCs, notwithstanding). It may be true that "the teacher is now the maintainer of a technology which wasn’t built for her, or for her purpose," but MOOCs were not developed for teachers, they were developed for learners. As a developer, I don't think I have to apologize for my role in MOOCs. I don't think there's anything to apologize for.

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