NCSU professors give MOOCs a chance, refuse to join dissenting groups

Not everyone is a fan of Massive Open Online Courses, it seems, Technician Online reports.

Even though the availability of free MOOCS is expanding nationwide, 65 faculty, student, teacher and union associations have formed a coalition against them. The group argues that MOOCs are profit-driven and not in the best interest of the students.

Dave Frye, associate director of the Friday Institute at N.C. State, said that despite the formation of anti-MOOC groups, N.C. State is not formally involved in any type of coalition against MOOCs.

N.C. State’s College of Education offers two MOOCs through the Friday Institute. Frye said the College of Education can use MOOCs to promote its research on effective teaching methods and the use of technology in the classroom.

“Our belief is that there has been a lot of talk about MOOCs, both positive and negative, but it isn’t always informed by research,” Frye said. “We want to inform the broader conversation with research findings from our MOOCs for educators.”

One major complaint from anti-MOOC groups is that large MOOC providers, including Coursera, Udacity and EdX, typically receive large profits from the universities that partner with them. According to a report by the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education. EdX received $60 million from collaborations with MIT and Harvard alone.

Frye said the Friday Institute chose not to partner with a MOOCs provider to allow better control over design of their courses and make changes based on research findings.

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