And they are fundamentally asking not “is college worth it?” but “who should go to college among those in the bottom 50%?” and “what should we pay for those people to go?” Because if education cost nothing to provide, the question would be moot. In the 21st Century, it’s notable that these same curious people are not asking “Is high school worth it?” even though high school dropout remains a problem and of course it costs money to offer high school as well. What is so magical about the 12th year of education versus the 14th? Absolutely nothing. So why is “worthiness” asked of the 14th year? Because the country simply hasn’t gotten around to providing a free public option.
What courses rarely do is step back to help students understand why they are learning a certain subject matter in a way that gives them both insights into why someone else (i.e. their prof) would dedicate their lives to researching in that area while also giving them the meta-cognitive ability to take a much less specialized version of that knowledge and apply it elsewhere.
… Only the naïve and uninformed considered teaching to be a simple and inexpensive proposition.
Even much of the not-so-good stuff out there represents a positive development because writing—specifically, writing for an audience, no matter how small—concentrates the mind wonderfully.
One of the challenges of designing an effective MOOC is turning the massive numbers of students from a problem into a strength.
MOOCs are the Wal-Mart of higher education.
MOOCs are like the patronising uncle who has yet to have a child of his own. They are great fun for the nieces and nephews, they are inventive, playful, and the kids always look forward to them arriving. But this uncle secretly (and after a couple of beers, not so secretly) thinks he could do a better job at raising the kids than the parents. He may also think they prefer him to their actual mum and dad.
Love the “Uncle MOOC” metaphor.
– from The Ed Techie