Massively open online courses (MOOCs) have made waves in 2012, signaling a new area of focus for online learning and higher education. As more universities collaborate with MOOC providers to offer select courses online free of charge, serious questions are being raised about the role MOOCs have to play in the future of higher ed. Many thought leaders, such as National Center on Education and the Economy President Marc Tucker, see MOOCs as a revolutionizing force, while others, including blogger Timothy Burke, have expressed far more skeptical views.
Education Dive is always watching for new voices on the issue, and these are ten of our favorite quotes from around the world of learning and tech:
1. JEREMY TEITELBAUM
Dean of the University of Connecticut College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Opinion: MOOCs need to evolve into something better.
"If massively online, open courseware means having 300,000 students watching videos online loosely supported by 10,000 teaching assistants, of widely varying background and commitment, scattered around the globe, then the brave new world of online education sounds like a poor version of the University of Phoenix to me."
Source: UConn Today
2. DAVID BROOKS
New York Times Columnist
Opinion: Online learning shouldn't jettison social engagement.
"In an online world, colleges have to think hard about how they are going to take communication, which comes over the Web, and turn it into learning, which is a complex social and emotional process."
Source: The New York Times
3. MIKE BOXALL
Opinion: MOOCs could change education like the internet has changed media.
"Many share the view of the Stanford president that MOOCs replicate the disruptive innovations that have reshaped the global information, media and news industries, by shifting market power from the established players to parvenu start-ups and alternative providers."
Source: The Guardian
4. TIMOTHY BURKE
Opinion: Mainstream media is over-hyping the impact of MOOCs.
"MOOCs are damn interesting, you betcha, but seriously, if you think they’re about to solve the labor-intensivity of higher education tomorrow with no losses or costs in quality, you have a lot of learning to do."
Source: Easily Distracted
5. ESTHER QUINTERO
Research Associate at the Albert Shanker Institute
Opinion: MOOCs have important implications for personalized learning.
"MOOCs are attractive because of their dynamism, sometimes verging on the chaotic."
Source: Shanker Blog
6. LAURA MCKENNA
Opinion: Although MOOCs could change higher education, they don't pose a threat to universities.
"While technology makes it possible to provide lectures to millions, it decrease [sic] quality, just as the quality in couture gowns is lost when Target manufactures them."
Source: The Atlantic
7. MARC TUCKER
President of the National Center on Education and the Economy
Opinion: Not only will MOOCs change the university business model, but they will alter our perception of teachers.
"But some interesting things happen in this model--or might happen. Great teachers could become very hot properties. Talent agencies might add college professors to their roster of sports figures and movie stars."
Source: Education Week
8. STEPHEN KING
Economics Professor at Monash University
Opinion: MOOCs could fundamentally change the way courses are taught at universities.
"Ultimately with some courses, the large lecture may disappear – replaced by smaller classes to provide feedback, allow better discussion and to focus on applying new knowledge through problem-based learning."
Source: The Conversation
9. STEVE KOLOWICH
Inside Higher Ed Reporter
Opinion: Data shows that MOOCs could pose a worse threat to universities in Asia than in America.
"Across all Coursera courses, 74 percent of registrants reside outside the United States."
Source: Inside Higher Ed
10. KEVIN CAREY
Director of the New America Foundation's Education Policy program
Opinion: If people start receiving credentials from MOOCs, universities will be at risk.
"Perhaps the biggest sign that this assault on the university is of an unprecedented scale is that some of the biggest incumbents have finally started making moves to defend themselves."
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