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Without educator support, ‘there is no hope’ for MOOCs
Massive open online courses (MOOCs), despite enthusiastic support from many educational higher-ups, won’t gain widespread acceptance until teachers and professors embrace the experimental classes as a viable educational model.
That’s according to Anant Agarwal, president of the Harvard-MIT online learning platform edX, who spoke candidly about the uncertain future of MOOCs in a recent interview with The Independent.
Agarwal, who stressed that children born today with keyboards and computer tablets “pinned to their fingertips” would one day learn in a MOOC-like environment, said that like any major change in education, MOOCs would have to gain major support among those teaching the courses.
“If teachers don’t embrace it [MOOCs], there is no hope of going anywhere… this is the world that today’s children are being brought up in,” he said during a visit to the United Kingdom, where he asked colleges and universities to try the controversial classes.
“My message would be to try them out and, if you don’t like them, flush them down the Thames,” he said at a seminar organized by the think tank Education Foundation.
Agarwal said that the massive courses, which have drawn the ire of faculty members and labor unions in the US, were in their “very, very early days” and would likely undergo a number of changes in coming years.
He added that MOOCs shouldn’t be isolated to higher education.