Union concerned with New York MOOC expansion

SUNY in may became one of 10 large public university systems — including the giant state systems of New York, Tennessee, Colorado and the University of Houston –to agree to for-credit classes hosted on the Coursera platform.

Some schools who signed on with Coursera will use MOOCs to offer college prep courses, while others will develop MOOCs to be taught at institutions across an entire state.

“We noticed the vast majority of ours students were people who already had degrees and wanted to continue their education,” Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller said in an Associated Press interview.

“We really wanted to move the needle on fundamental educational problems” of access and affordability. Because Coursera does not produce its own content or administer degree courses, “you have to work within the framework of the institutions that are actually good at that,” she said.

MOOCs shouldn’t be excluded from higher education, Duncan said, but the nascent courses shouldn’t be a central part of how a group of universities teaches its curriculum.

“There is a place for the use of MOOCs for expanding learning if people are interested in simply learning certain things,” she said. “To teach major areas of study for credit in that format has not been proven to be a good educational teaching method.”

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