The New York Times declared 2012 to be the Year of the MOOC, enthusiastically adopting venture capitalist argot advocating “disruption” and “starting the revolution that has higher education gasping.” Thomas Friedman referred to Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) as a “revolution” nine times in three separate columns.

The Chronicle of Higher Education, less pithily, has issued the “Infinite Jest”-like imperative “Call it the year of the mega-class.” A Chronicle survey of professors who had taught MOOCs (which admitted that its sample was “stacked with true believers” in digital learning) found that 79 percent of instructors “believe MOOCs are worth the...

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