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Reading: Making Sense of MOOCs: Musings in a Maze of Myth, Paradox and Possibility

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Making Sense of MOOCs: Musings in a Maze of Myth, Paradox and Possibility

Author:

John Daniel

Korea National Open University DeTao Masters Academy, China, CA
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Abstract

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are the educational buzzword of 2012. Media frenzy surrounds them and commercial interests have moved in. Sober analysis is overwhelmed by apocalyptic predictions that ignore the history of earlier educational technology fads. The paper describes the short history of MOOCs and sets them in the wider context of the evolution of educational technology and open/distance learning. While the hype about MOOCs presaging a revolution in higher education has focussed on their scale, the real revolution is that universities with scarcity at the heart of their business models are embracing openness. We explore the paradoxes that permeate the MOOCs movement and explode some myths enlisted in its support. The competition inherent in the gadarene rush to offer MOOCs will create a sea change by obliging participating institutions to revisit their missions and focus on teaching quality and students as never before. It could also create a welcome deflationary trend in the costs of higher education.

Explanatory Note

During my time as a Fellow at the Korea National Open University (KNOU) in September 2012 media and web coverage of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) was intense. Since one of the requirements of the fellowship was a research paper, exploring the phenomenon of MOOCs seemed an appropriate topic. This essay had to be submitted to KNOU on 25 September 2012 but the MOOCs story is still evolving rapidly. I shall continue to follow it.

'What is new is not true, and what is true is not new'. Hans Eysenck on Freudianism

This paper is published by JIME following its first release as a paper produced as part of a fellowship at the Korea National Open University (KNOU). Both the original and this republication are available non-exclusively under Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY). Apart from this note and minor editorial adjustments the paper is unchanged.


How to Cite: Daniel, J., 2012. Making Sense of MOOCs: Musings in a Maze of Myth, Paradox and Possibility. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 2012(3), p.Art. 18. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/2012-18
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Published on 13 Dec 2012.
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