MOOCs and the Gartner Hype Cycle: A very slow tsunami

Jonathan Tapson, Sept 15, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Some very good points in this article. First, the autghor dispenses with two bad arguments against MOOCs:

  • "The first is that you can’t get a high quality student-teacher or student-peer interaction on the Web. That fact may be correct, but sadly, you can’t get one at 99 percent of modern universities either."
  • "The second flawed argument is that MOOCs have terrible completion rates... if we added up all the students who had ever completed this common freshman course, at all those universities, over their entire histories, it would be unlikely to exceed 10,000 completions. Udacity managed this in three months."

The third point is this: we are at the beginning of a slow tsunami - slow, because university is a three or four (or more) year commitment, not undertaken likely, with results that take a while to show. "Opting to study online is not a $1 or $10, CD-or-download decision." So the full impact of MOOCs won't be felt for a while. "For the mid-range institutions, there is probably a happy 10-year window in which they are safe and can continue in blissful ignorance."

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