Welcome to Introduction to Forensic Science, the murder mystery that doubles as a university course. Enrol here.
Udacity, who, along with Coursera and edX, has been one of the "big three" MOOC providers is stepping back from its initial vision, to refocus on corporate training. Now that we've had a bit of time to think through the potential offered by MOOCs, and to assess how well they live up to them in practice, what conclusions are people drawing? Is it possible that MOOCs have value, but just aren't the same sort of animal as a traditional "bricks and mortar" course? Jonathan Freedman, from the University of Michigan, thinks so, and calls them "usefully Middlebrow." John Covach of the University of Rochester talks in depth about his own experiences, and frames MOOC courses as more akin to a public lecture series than a college course.
Will online education dampen the college experience? Yes. Will it be worth it? Well... [more inside]
In the Fall of 2011, The Floating University assembled a video course entitled Great Big Ideas. Each of its dozen lectures is the product of a challenge given to an eminent authority and expert teacher to take "everything a non-professional needs to know about your subject in less than 60 minutes" and to bake the result into "a multi-media presentation, produced with the highest quality video and graphics." The lectures cover topics as varied as psychology, demography, physics, political philosophy, and more. During its initial offering at Harvard, Yale, and Bard during the Fall 2011 term, GBI quickly became the most popular course at all three universities.
A MOOC on planning and running MOOCs run by a leading MOOC company has spectacularly collapsed [more inside]
The Learners Bill of Rights, a set of “Principles for Learning in the Digital Age,” is the outcome of a twelve-person meeting held in Palo Alto last week to explore the voice of the educated in online learning discussions:
As we begin to experiment with how novel technologies might change learning and teaching, powerful forces threaten to neuter or constrain technology, propping up outdated educational practices rather than unfolding transformative ones.[more inside]
All too often, during such wrenching transitions, the voice of the learner gets muffled.
For that reason, we feel compelled to articulate the opportunities for students in this brave electronic world, to assert their needs and--we dare say--rights.
We also recognize some broader hopes and aspirations for the best online learning. We include those principles as an integral addendum to the Bill of Rights below.
In the US, an undergraduate education used to be an option, one way to get into the middle class. Now it’s a hostage situation, required to avoid falling out of it. And if some of the hostages having trouble coming up with the ransom conclude that our current system is a completely terrible idea, then learning will come unbundled from the pursuit of a degree just as as songs came unbundled from CDs.Napster, Udacity, and the Academy - about how online education startups are changing the notion and practice of higher education - by Clay Shirky (previously)