Coursera and other online companies are discussed in the Dec. 1 issue of the Economist (at page 29) in an article challenging traditional universities' spiraling costs relative to the present and future benefits they bestow upon students at all levels of academic performance.
Change is afoot.
I poked around at some of the Coursera links, too, and I'm honestly
not sure what they're up to, but my guess is that Coursera is in chrysalis
form and will morph into something new (or old)
when the time is right. The fact
that it began with $16 million in venture capital
funds sort of points in that direction.
discussion of it at the end of article in The Chronicle of Higher
Education is interesting.
Coursera seems to have
been able to get numerous more or less
high powered universities on board on an experimental
basis, in large part, it
appears, for marketing. And it
is not clear that they mean to
non-credit project, which may account for the
overprotesting on the
Penn certificate (Penn apparently
doesn't intend to
get into the
with these courses).
The fact that they have a million or two enrollments is
interesting, but it would be more telling to know, for example, how
many would-be students have done any work in the courses, and how
many have completed. My guess is that those numbers will be
respectively a small fraction and a smaller fraction of the
enrollees. Which is not necessarily a criticism, as it has always
been thus in distance ed. And the project now seems to be to add
as many universities and courses as possible. Perhaps they've found
a model to out-Phoenix Phoenix (as in the Univ. of Phoenix).
On 12/2/2012 11:58 PM, P wrote:
This is an important discussion. Being an avowed
anti-academic, I am all in favour of learning for its own sake. I
am happy to accept that in this particular case, it worked well.
I'm sure the prof. got academic cred. for it, and the institution
could claim its numbers were up. The student hunters now have a
super pool of potential fish to fish for other courses.