University leaders and government officials from five continents on Thursday explored challenges and opportunities from economics to diversity that higher education faces. The second day of the Princeton-Fung Global Forum in Paris also featured vigorous debate on whether online learning platforms pose more risks or rewards for academia and society.
Gideon Rosen, the Stuart Professor of Philosophy and chair of the Council of the Humanities at Princeton University, described a “nightmare scenario” spawned by Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs. In “MOOC World,” Rosen said, institutions lured by lower costs and greater efficiencies switch fully to online learning and forsake traditional interaction between students and teachers, who may no longer know students’ names.
“When those things go missing, something of real value is lost,” Rosen said. “If you doubt that, just ask yourself the question, is that the sort of education you would want for your children?