Phonar: a massive, free photography class

Cory Doctorow, Nov 15, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This is very much part of the MOOC business model: "Four years ago when I first opened my photography classes online the big issue was 'free' - if you 'give your classes away for free then no one will pay for them'. My answer to those people was that the classes weren't what people paid for - they paid for the learning experience, of being in the room - this online version - this open and connected version just meant that the room they paid to be in now sat at the middle of a network." The online audience is part and parcel of what makes being in the classroom desirable (and to many people, worth paying for). Is this a good model? A fair model? I think it would be fine in a world where education is freely accessible and where incomes are equitable. But we're not really very close to that at the moment, so I have mixed feelings.

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