What is online learning? Seeking definition

Tony Bates, online learning and distance education resources, Apr 27, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Tony Bates is in the process of running a national survey about online and distance education (which launched today) and in the process resorted to some arbitrary definitions of key terms, which he shares here. It really raises some concerns for me. First of all, it's all about courses, nothing else. Despite the headline we don't learn what 'online learning' really is. And the institutional perspective is deep (not surprising since only institutions (specifically, their provosts or VPs education) are surveyed). This shows in the very odd definition of MOOC, given as "No fee (except possibly for an end of course certificate); the courses are open to anyone: there is no requirement for prior academic qualifications in order to take the course; the courses are not for credit." The third point is especially irrelevant to the definition of a MOOC.

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