MOOCs and Their Discontents


To say that MOOCs propagate inequality is to deny their fundamental mission and the thinking that conceived them.

Coded into the DNA of MOOCs (the unwieldy acronym for Massive Open Online Courses) is a profound sense of social, educational, and economic justice. MOOCs are courses from the world’s premier institutions of higher learning offered on a variety of platforms, the most notable of which are CourseraedX, and Udacity. They aim to bring the knowledge and expertise housed in the most selective public and private universities and deliver them to anybody around the world who has little more than a computer or tablet and a working internet connection.

They are inherently egalitarian; the fundamental principle that guides them is to universalise the availability of knowledge and human understanding from the widest possible variety of academic fields. Anant Agarwal, the president of edX,said in a recent interview, “Education is our cause. It’s really important that people around the world have access to a great education, much like the air we breathe.”

All of these points ignore the most glaring error of [Kendzior’s] article, which is to have neglected the question, what is a MOOC, and what isn’t it?

Full post here. 

Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, and heads an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.

Please follow and like us: