Sunday, May 19, 2013


My article on my MOOC Experience, Whitewater Rafting the Canvas Social Media MOOC is out! The MOOC News and Reviews Blog is getting really interesting, and I am excited to be part of this.

So many articles about changes in education options lately, with MOOCS being a sort of major representation of what can and will happen with our current system. Among in all, I notice that everything is framed in an all-or-nothing format: You can study for a LARGE amount of money that will probably require taking out loans and living frugally for years afterwards, forgoing travel and other things that could enlighten you, OR you can study for absolutely FREE,  putting together your own courses and hoping that MOOCs will come into their own as respected college courses in the job market.  (And do interesting things such as travel to boot.)

At this point, there has been lots of finger-pointing regarding quality of course content and online vs. traditional learning, comparatively little has been said regarding the main problem with our current education system: It is WAY OVERPRICED.  We need to have a huge PRICE REDUCTION on this oversized house that no longer fits the needs or income of today's family.
Education needs a reality check, and it is coming in the form of MOOCs.  People are saying not so much that they are unhappy with education, they are saying they can't afford the price being asked.

I will write about this more this soon.   But I want to say that it's time to drastically reduce the price of that house, because - lovely as it is - even if we want to buy it, we can't.


  1. I agree completely that there may be a difference in continuity. The main point I was thinking about when I wrote this was the very extreme difference in cost.
    I imagine that MOOCs will start to get more organized about that aspect as well, but in the meantime they offer great leaning opportunities...

  2. My concern, though, is that the organisation may go the wrong way. Already US colleges are standardising syllabuses to allow movement between community colleges and larger institutions, which is in principle a good thing, but in practice demotes universities to a mere extension of the school system, all teaching the same thing.

    The other reason this concerns me is the damage that "modularisation" has done to Scottish education. I took a year our recently to go back to university. I went into the second year of a Gaelic language and culture degree scheme. My concern was that I'd be lacking prerequisite knowledge from the first year, particularly as I hadn't done any literature study since high school.

    In the end, I found they had modularised to the point that there was no prerequisite knowledge whatsoever, resulting in a very shallow, superficial view of the various topics. I did a module on short stories and I still don't even know the Gaelic for "simile". That's what I'm afraid of: compartmentalised, shallow learning.

    I'll not deny that MOOCs offer great learning opportunities, but I do think it's important not to overegg the pudding: all the MOOCs in the world are not equivalent to a high quality degree.