MOOCs: The Omnibus Solution?

It is interesting to watch the intense activity and interest in massive open online courses (MOOCs) and the rush to use them in higher ed (especially public universities). The most enthusiastic proponents both inside HE and out seem to view MOOCs as the omnibus solution to all extant problems. It’s as if the attitude among top HE administrators is: “Let’s do it. It’s gotta fix something.” Unfortunately, the learned are not applying what they’ve learned (e.g. critical thinking, research, seek contradictory information, etc.).


2 thoughts on “MOOCs: The Omnibus Solution?

  1. Nancy Heath

    MOOCs are one way to address the issue of content dissemination, but they still generally rely on a top-down approach, and don’t address the issue of the evaluation of student learning. I think there are hundreds of new ways to disseminate information, and universities are trying MOOCs in a desperate attempt to remain relevant. The trickier question is how do we evaluate student learning? Do we need to evaluate student learning? For what purpose? For employers? Does evaluation of learning make any sense in our information-rich age? Should students who have completed a literature class be able to show any specific, measureable skills? Does top-down dissemination make any sense today? Universities are looking a lot like buggy whips and typewriters to me. Disclosure: I work at an all-online university.

  2. Bob Emiliani Post author

    Thank you for that post and your disclosure.

    “Universities are looking a lot like buggy whips and typewriters” is what is driving MOOCs (and the like) into the curriculum. University leaders have been spooked by MOOCs.

    MOOCs are an opportunity for university leaders to lead by example and demonstrate, to all, the critical thinking and research skills that have long been part of higher education.


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