Faculty ’empowered’ in university’s MOOC rollout

GW faculty have been given control over the university’s approach–learn how


Faculty members at a host of universities have blocked massive open online course (MOOC) initiatives, criticized the corporate interests driving MOOC adoption, and raised labor union concerns about the long-term consequences on MOOC proliferation.

Meanwhile, at George Washington University, all is calm.

Decision makers at the private Washington, D.C. university of 10,400 undergraduates have worked hand in hand with faculty members from various departments in the school’s first MOOC initiative, doing their best to avoid disharmony with the people who will eventually teach the classes composed of tens of thousands of people from around the world.

GW faculty, in many ways, have been given some level of control over the university’s approach to its first set of MOOCs. That’s hardly an accident, said Paul Schiff Berman, GW’s vice provost for online education and academic innovation.

“We see MOOCs as a way of empowering faculty who are interested in reaching a very different audience than they’re used to,” said Berman, who said massive courses would be just another addition to the school’s 76 credit-bearing online education programs. “Our approach to MOOCs have not engendered any kind of faculty backlash, which I’m happy to say.”

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