Experts: UVa.’s Coursera partnership far from an embrace of online learning

Peter Galuszka, a writer for Bacon’s Rebellion, a site covering Virginia policy debates, wrote in a blog post that UVa. officials—even after the push for more online courses this summer—should ease into web-based learning options.

The “online fad” has driven many colleges and universities toward the nontraditional MOOC model of free courses for anyone anytime, Galuszka said, pointing out that students who complete a free online course get a certificate, not college credit.

“In Virginia, we are being told that this is a revolution and we’d better get on board or face the existential threat,” he wrote. “The bigger threat, however, is jumping in and cheating children and college students of an education.”

Sams said this month’s Coursera announcements are just the start of MOOC mainstreaming in higher education.

“Governance groups have increasing frustration over the never ending cost increases and administrations are displaying the classic lack of vision and leadership that leads to disruptive change,” he said.

Other schools entering new partnerships with Coursera are California Institute of Technology, Duke University, the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Georgia Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins University, Rice University, UC San Francisco, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the University of Toronto, and the University of Washington.

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