MOOCs are closed platforms… and probably doomed

Daniel Lemire, Dec 24, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes

"Do not be fooled by how savvy MOOC advocates sound," cautions Daniel Lemire. "They do not understand what they are doing." He doesn't me me, of course. "The actual MOOCs that colleges publish are closed platforms, as per Wikipedia’s definition," he writes. Interestingly, you can walk into any university classroom and sit in on a lecture, and nobody will care (if they notice at all). That's because lectures are a hard sell, he writes. And consider this thought experiment: what if the degrees were free, if you passed the tests, but each hour of lecture cost twenty dollars. "You know what is going to happen? Nobody but the instructor will show up." Colleges are still selling the content - and that's why they canot afford actual open MOOCs. But this will change. "Colleges that try to lock down course content, let alone the content of their MOOCs, are signalling that they have no clue about the business that they are in."

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