2016 – the year of MOOC hard questions

Martin Weller, The Ed Techie, Dec 11, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Martin calls these "hard questions" for MOOCs, but to me they're an indication of how deeply the concept of open online learning has been co-opted. Consider:

  • "Now we are seeing pricing models for MOOCs, it turns out that in order to amass enough credits for a degree, you’d end up paying quite a lot."
  • "Surprise! They’re not that cheap, particularly because unis often want them to be showcase products..."
  • "iTunes brand trumped the University one effectively.... I think a similar ‘MOOC platform trumps university brand’ battle may arise with MOOCs."
  • "the typical demographic of MOOCs being highly qualified, independent learners from a well off background."

So, maybe all these re issues. Or maybe they represent a certain story that was told about MOOCs by a few VC-backed entrepreneurs, stories that were at odds with the stories being told by practitioners of open online learning who have been around for a couple decades or more. Honestly, I don't care wither the Coursera or even the FutureEd model of MOOCs lives or dies. I do care whether individuals can access open online learning. And this is a much wider world than the pundits would have you believe.

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