Wednesday, March 13, 2013

No Duke for you!: MOOCs are good for California, but not good enough for Duke, Penn, or UC Irvine

Remember all that "MOOCs are just here  so students from all nations can sing kumbaya and learn for the sake of learning" hype?

Turns out, the for-credit model is being eagerly embraced by legislators in California.  I know--like Captain Renault, you're "shocked, shocked!" that this could happen.

From Inside Higher Ed, these two articles have some food for thought:

1. ACE (an accrediting agency) has decided that 5 Coursera MOOCs could be accredited if colleges agree. Highlight:
Given the STEM tilt of this batch of five courses, none of them included peer assessment, leaning entirely on objective, often machine-enabled grading, said Sandeen of ACE. "In the future, perhaps we will be asked to review a course from the humanities or social sciences that relies on peer grading, and we'll take those issues up then," she said.
Translation: We can't get rid of those pesky professors yet, but once we get the One Rubric to Rule them All (h/t to Historiann, I think), those peer evaluators will do just fine.

Here's a little sample of ACE's evaluative criteria:
[U]sing MOOCs [will] "raise degree completion, deepen college curricula and increase learning productivity," as ACE's president, Molly Corbett Broad, said at the time.
Do you hear that about "learning productivity," Sinclair Lewis?  Dreams can come true.

2. How about credit for MOOC courses? Good for California, good for us grimy proles, but not so good for Duke, Irvine, and Penn:
No students at Irvine or Duke or Penn will be able to take any of these courses for credit, though. Matkin said UC-Irvine does not consider its Coursera courses, as currently constructed, to be worthy of its credit because "we do not control learning environment of these students.... There are 250,000 signups in our six courses, with open enrollment so anybody can sign up, and those anybodies can influence negatively the learning environment of students who are serious about taking it."
Translation: "Those anybodies" can watch the feast, or the videos on the MOOCs, and some fool college can give them credit for it, but we know that they could taint the educational experience and Our Brand, so, to paraphrase Seinfeld, "No Duke for you!"


Miriam said...

Since my alma mater UCI is in CA, though, their opinion may not continue to matter...

undine said...

Hmm, Miriam--I wonder how they're going to get past that.