Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have been making waves ever since Sebastrian Thrun and Peter Norvig's course on AI enrolled 165,000 students in 2011. Key questions include:

  • How does the massive scale of these classes impact the pedagogy?
  • What is the place of a MOOC in a traditional higher education curriculum?
  • What kinds of learning can MOOCs supplement or replace?
  • What is the difference between MOOCs and peer-to-peer online, connected learning?
  • Are MOOCs innovative? How can we leverage the MOOC form to innovate rather than perpetuate pedagogical practices? 
  • How do we address the problems raised by MOOCs, such as unprecedented incompletion rates? (And -- perhaps most importantly -- are these problems really problems?)
  • What labor issues for the professoriate need to be addressed as we consider the business model of MOOCs?

As the discussion around MOOCs evolves alongside the MOOCs themselves, the HASTAC community remains deeply engaged. This collection is designed to highlight posts on about MOOCs, online learning, and digital pedagogy. 

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ICA Preconference: Innovation in Higher Education: Building a better future?

ICA Preconference: Innovation in Higher Education: Building a better future?

May 22 2014
This pre-conference event, sponsored by the Gates Foundation, was announced on a listserv I'm on. I thought it would be of interest to the HASTAC and #FutureEd communities. Innovation in Higher Education: building a better future? Professor William H. Dutton, Ms Sarah Porter, Professor Grainne...
500 5th Avenue North
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News / Teaching & Learning Practices

The Online Education Revolution Drifts Off Course | NPR

According to the New York Times, 2012 was the year of the MOOC.

According to NPR's Eric Westervelt, 2013 might be called "the year that online education fell back to earth."

With criticisms mounting, MOOC providers are rethinking their platforms and searching for ways to provide the next iteration of online learning that provides more support and connection.

Read more on 

News / Teaching & Learning Practices

MOOCs Are Largely Reaching Privileged Learners, Survey Finds | Chronicle of Higher Education

Steve Kolowich's article today in the Chronicle highlights the findings of a recent study, which showed that 80 percent of the students of a particular Penn State MOOC had a 2- or 4-year degree, and 44 percent of students had some graduate coursework under their belt. 

The article gives many possible reasons for this trend.

Read the full article:

News / Teaching & Learning Practices

Udacity's Sebastian Thrun, Godfather of Free Online Education, Changes Course | Fast Company

An article by Max Chafkin in Fast Company highlights Sebastian Thrun's disappointment in the MOOC revolution. Thrun, who built the Udacity MOOC platform and taught the first MOOC (on AI, with 160,000 students), argues that the high dropout rates and low pass rates of MOOCs show a disparity between the hype of accessibility and the reality of unbalanced success rates. 

Chafkin writes:

News / Teaching & Learning Practices

U.S. Plans Global Network of Free Online Courses | New York Times

The New York Times reported today that Coursera is partnering with the US Government to provide "learning hubs" around the world with free access to the internet, online educational tools, and in-person instruction. 

The Times says:

"The learning hubs represent a new stage in the evolution of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, and address two issues: the lack of reliable Internet access in some countries, and the growing conviction that students do better if they can discuss course materials, and meet at least occasionally with a teacher or facilitator."


Report by Faculty Group Questions Savings From MOOCs | Chronicle of Higher Education

A recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education highlights the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education's recent paper, The 'Promises' of Olnine Higher Education: Reducing Costs. The paper asserts that although universities often adopt MOOCs as a potential cost-saving measure, the system may not actually save universities money. 

The CHE reports:

News / Teaching & Learning Practices

Gianpiero Petriglieri, Why I'm Skeptical About MOOCs | The Wall Street Journal

In a recent post on the Wall Street Journal, Gianpiero Petriglieri (associate professor of organizational behavior at INSEAD, and director of their Management Acceleration Programme for emerging leaders) discusses some of the potential perils and downfalls of the MOOC movement.

His key point:

"As extensions of and enticements towards education MOOCs may be very useful. As alternatives, or more precisely as surrogates, they are utterly inadequate."


Duke University receives Gates grants to fund 2 studies on MOOCs

Duke University has been awarded funding from Gates to sponsor 2 studies about MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses. Each grant is for $25,000. One will examine how large employers are using these massive new courses, known as MOOCs, to identify potential workers and aid in professional development. The other will analyze peer-to-peer interactions in introductory writing and chemistry MOOC classes.

Learn more: 

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