Neither the idea of the traditional university nor the MOOC vision of universal access to education is new, Hybrid Pedagogy reports. Both promise to create, preserve, and disseminate knowledge in some fashion, and both operate on a hierarchical business model where students are consumers, tiered faculty are human resources, and administrators solicit and redistribute the funds that govern growth and organization. Though they share organizational features, and therefore some of the same top-down management flaws, each presents unique problems and paradigms. The global exponential scale of MOOCs, however, poses a threat to the majority of traditional higher-education institutions unlike what we’ve seen with previous experiments in universal, open education. But competition drives change, and the MOOCification of higher education, like it or not, stimulates much needed reflection on current practice and policy that could and should provoke institutional reorganization. Sir John Daniel posits: “The competition inherent in the gadarene rush to offer MOOCs will create a sea change by obliging participating institutions to revisit their missions and focus on teaching quality and students as never before. It could also create a welcome deflationary trend in the costs of higher education.” Despite the revolutionary hype, we are in a speculative phase at best. Though the connectivist origins of cMOOCs can be traced to a cohort of professors at the University of Manitoba in Canada, corporatist xMOOCs became, not too ironically, the domain of elite universities, conceived by a handful of scholars and techies for the masses.

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eCampus News staff and wire reports