The need for academic input and approval for adoption of educational technology, the Academic Senate resolution said, has been made clear by on-campus strife related to the school’s move toward Udacity MOOCs.

“A series of conflicts over the last year has highlighted issues related to communication and transparency, has opened serious rifts in our shared sense of community, and has contributed to extremely low morale,” the SJSU resolution read. “A fresh look at the SJSU situation from outside the campus could help to diagnose problems and identify solutions.”

A survey of SJSU MOOC participants found that 39 percent had never previously taken an online course. Fewer than half the students knew that support services were available online if they needed help.

The students used the Udacity website for coursework and exams but weren’t aware that grades would be posted on the San Jose website, the report said. In addition, many students were left in the dark because eMails failed to reach them, according to the study.

Rhee-Weise said the widespread belief that educational technology serves as a barrier between educators and their students has in large part driven the opposition to MOOCs in higher education.

“The hard part about this is that there is so much territoriality and warfare, and there’s a sense that technology is intruding into the space of faculty-student interaction,” she said. “But in a really exciting way, technology can actually enhance that interaction. But if faculty are so resistant, there’s no way they’re going to see the benefits of those technology advancements.”


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