Tag Archives: Fundamentals of Online Education

The Disruptor Disrupted: The First Explicit xMOOC Failure

The cancellation “temporary suspension” of Coursera’s Fundamentals of Online Education course is a watershed moment in the rapidly growing world of MOOCs.  Inside Higher Ed has summarized the problems which befell the course and led to suspension, and a number of course participants have documented their experiences, displeasure and ideas for potential fixes (Debbie Morrison’s experience, chronicled on her blog Online Learning Insights, was the first on the scene, and subsequent artifacts continue to arrive, such as the #foemooc Twitter feed).  There are many questions on a structural level, such as why a course with an enrollment of 40K would utilize a service such as Google Documents, which limits docs to 50 simultaneous users.  These are the questions most likely to be asked and answered in the dominant narrative…when if Coursera discusses it in the media or on their site (as of publication, Coursera had no notice or explanation of the suspension on their page; rather, the course is listed as upcoming), they will likely focus on the structural shortcomings and their structural fixes.  There are other considerations and potential questions to put in the forum as well:

1)  The partnership between the California State University system (San Jose State University to be specific) and MOOC provider Udacity allows a credit-based output for MOOC enrollment.  This is despite a lack of accreditation for Udacity, a for-profit enterprise producing curricular materials.  One could say it is the responsibility of the scholastic institution to assure quality control, and that would be true in conventional academia…but the narrative in society is not about San Jose State University doing great things in their utilization of a resource such as Udacity, but instead about Udacity changing education as we know it, and that change is implied as for the better.   Continue reading

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