Moving Forward without a Backward Glance: MOOCs and Technological Innovations
In a recent commentary on the rock star Sting’s dipping back into his childhood to revitalize his song writing, David Brooks said: “how important it is to ground future vision in historical consciousness.” I agree with Brooks when it comes to the half-life of technological innovations. The experience of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) over the past few years is an unexpected example of what Brooks meant.
Much has been written about MOOCs since they went viral in the past three years (see here, here, here, and here). This vision of creating platforms for college-level courses that would give anyone with an Internet connection access to college courses while reducing ever-escalating costs of higher education has turned some professors into academic entrepreneurs. Here is a two-for-one innovation (increased efficiency and equity) that has married new technologies with global access to higher education. MOOCs spread rapidly among…
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