The MOOC backlash — a response

Some demanding Senior Year classes, coupled with a senior thesis I assigned myself, have kept me from posting here recently, The Huffington Post reports.

But having started my Degree of Freedom One Year BA project in order to provide a student perspective to MOOC boosters ready to assault the walls of academia with little understanding of how well massive online courses were actually working, it’s time to provide that same perspective to anti-MOOC zealots who have become a doppelganger of the under-informed MOOC champions they routinely decry.

A full response will probably take a few columns (which will run here this week and next), but for starters I’d like to address an article called “MOOC Mania” that was published in the most recent issue of Thought & Action, the Higher Education Journal published by the National Education Association (NEA).

In it the author, Susan Meisenhelder, Professor Emeritus of English at California State University of San Bernardino (and a fellow Huffpost blogger), lays out a pretty good summary of the academy’s case against MOOCs as being unserious and unrigorous, a poor substitute for the traditional classroom, an over-hyped solution to inadequately defined problems, and a flim-flam akin to the subprime mortgage industry. Oh, and do you really want to trust your child’s education to courses with a 90-95 percent drop-out rate (a record that would get any classroom educator fired on the spot, if not burned at the stake)?

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