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ERIC Number: EJ990492
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Oct-1
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
A Pioneer in Online Education Tries a MOOC
Kirschner, Ann
Chronicle of Higher Education, Oct 2012
Surely "massive open online course" (MOOC) has one of the ugliest acronyms of recent years, lacking the deliberate playfulness of Yahoo (Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle) or the droll shoulder shrug suggested by the word "snafu" (Situation Normal, All Fouled Up). The author is not a complete neophyte to online learning. Back in 1999, she led the start-up team for Fathom, one of the earliest knowledge networks, in partnership with Columbia University and other institutions in the United States and abroad, and she is a board member of the Apollo Group. So being understandably curious about these MOOCs, she decided to check one out herself. In this article, the author describes her experience. One would have to live under a rock not to know that crushing student debt, declining state support, and disruptive technologies have made it imperative to look at new models for teaching. American MOOCs may point the way to retaining the best students and faculty in the world, while adding the lively and collaborative components of technology-enhanced teaching and learning. It is true that nobody yet has a reasonable business plan for these courses, and there is concern over completion rates and whether colleges are "giving away the farm," as a recent MIT alumni-magazine article put it. It is not hard to anticipate the end of free and the start of the next stage: fee-based certificate programs built around MOOCs. But for now, the colleges leading those efforts are making relatively modest--and rare--investments in research and development. Their faculty members are excited about the opportunity to experiment. The author suggests giving this explosion of pent-up innovation in higher education a chance to mature before rushing to the bottom line. It is too soon to declare MOOCs either a silly fad or a silver bullet. But it is not too soon to declare 2012 the year that the public finally understood the potential for adult learning on a global scale.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; Tel: 202-466-1000; Fax: 202-452-1033; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania