The mushrooming of university-sponsored Massive Open Online Courses, also known as MOOCs or xMOOCs, over the last year and a half through the growth of the Coursera, Udacity and edx platforms, has pushed the conversation about innovations in higher education from the sidelines into the national spotlight, The Huffington Post reports. Millions have enrolled. Thousands have completed. MOOCs are raising as much excitement outside the academy as trepidation and antipathy within it. Whether blended into an in-person class, or as standalone online offerings, MOOCs threaten to accelerate the postwar trend toward “casualization” of the teaching profession, rendering some professors “glorified teaching assistants” even as they turn others into “rock stars.” … Open learning can mean many things to many people. It can mean learning that takes advantage of Creative Commons-licensed open educational resources or OER (of the major MOOC platforms, EDx is open-source, but none have open content). It can mean learning that is self-organized, experimental, peer-to-peer, DIY, badged or otherwise nontraditionally accredited.

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