I have an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun on MOOCs. I’m bullish on opening up education to everyone, but bearish on the MOOC business model. The basic argument should be familiar from The Merchants of MOOCs but I have refined into pithy op-ed format. Here’s an excerpt:
The gold rush surrounding MOOCs has a dark side. Opening up courses so that money and geography are no obstacle to learning is the kind of outreach that universities should be excited about. But the venture capitalists who have flocked to MOOC companies have been more concerned with “disrupting” American higher education, drawing students away from non-profit, public-serving universities to for-profit MOOCs. Disruption for disruption’s sake is hardly a good thing. The Syrian civil war is disruptive, too.
The Stanford AI course showed how much hunger there is around the world for knowledge and how easy it can be to satisfy that hunger when we step back from tuition and business models and use the Internet to share knowledge freely. If they can focus more on students and less on getting rich quick, MOOCs still have a lot to offer. The goal of knowledge for all is well worth pursuing.