The MOOC wars

May 06, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

"Initially," writes Martin Weller, "I thought this was just a bit of ignorance, but Clark's post made me understand - it is part of a wider narrative to portray MOOCs as a commercial solution that is sweeping away the complacency of higher education." This is in reaction to Donald Clark proclamation of the ascendency of (certain kinds of) MOOCs. "The narrative goes something like:

  • Higher education is irretrievably broken
  • MOOCs have come along from outside and shown how it can be done for free and at scale
  • MOOCs can answer all your education issues and make a profit."

Meanwhile, Brian Lamb reports on the Wikipedia battle over revisionist MOOC hostory. observes "MOOCs are not the disruptive innovation in education. The Web is the disruptive innovation in education." I agree - and would note that the primary influence over the design of cMOOCs is - you guessed it, the web! Sheila MacNeill, meanwhile, reminds us there is another universe where MOOCs do not yet exist (and yet another universe, known only to the writers of the Chronicle).  (Photo by synestheticstrings / Wikimedia Commons)

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