In a new magazine profile of Sebastian Thrun, the Udacity founder calls his company’s massive open online courses a “lousy product” to use for educating underprepared college students. That assertion has prompted a chorus of I-told-you-sos from his critics in academe.
This is a whole lot of crazy. They’re talking about how Udacity handled their online courses AS IF that was the only way to design courses massively, the only way to deliver them massively. Total riot!
Beyond schadenfreude, Mr. Thrun’s humbling has left some academics wondering who MOOCs are good for, if not underprivileged students in California. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania recently noted that the students taking MOOCs from Penn on Coursera, another major MOOC platform, tend to be well educated already. “The individuals the MOOC revolution is supposed to help the most—those without access to higher education in developing countries—are underrepresented among the early adopters,” wrote the researchers.
There’s a middle ground for sure. High Tech enables High Touch. Everything else is just fiscal fantasy.
This part is true.
“That means that the only way to open higher education to the masses is to hire more people to teach, either in person or online,” he added. “Accept no austerity-inspired technological substitutes because bringing quality higher education to the world won’t be easy and it won’t be cheap, but it will be good for the world in the long run.”
Nevertheless Mr. Poulin said that the debate over MOOCs had at least forced instructors to reckon with the conditions that have made MOOCs such an intriguing proposal.
“Udacity and its sister organizations need to be commended for bringing the conversation back to teaching, learning, and outcomes,” wrote Mr. Poulin in an email. “Those on the ‘traditional’ side need to be more aware that affordability and access for higher education are issues that will be with us for some time.”
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.