Tag Archives: globalization

Gartner’s Hype Cycle as Springboard – MOOC and Public Policy

A common theme in early MOOC criticism was a linking of the MOOC to Gartner’s Hype Cycle.

Certainly, a lot of hype accompanied the MOOC…more hype than for any EdTech innovation in education history, and perhaps more hype than for any learning model (or even agent of change) in higher education history. Spurred by a media narrative focused on a broken educational system, the MOOC was heralded not only as a means of providing cost-efficient education, but doing it through the best universities and professors in the world, for the entire world, in a way that would break down existing conventions of class and privilege. In short, MOOCs could crumble a bloated ivory tower while providing an education of higher-than-existing quality to individuals from around the world, eradicating student debt all the while.

Use of the hype cycle in discussion of MOOCs looked at the learning model as a present artifact that needed attachment to a history. That history could be MIT’s OpenCourseware, Columbia’s Fathom, Yale & Stanford’s AllLearn, the use of television in education (such as Nebraska Educational Telecommunications of the 1960s), the use of radio in education, or even the establishment of correspondence-based schools in the late 19th Century (such as Cornell University’s satellite school of correspondence). None of these innovations proved to be game-changers for higher education; moreover, almost all of the above were deemed failures by the developing institutions.

But the MOOC is ahistorical, borne of an intersection of machine learning, computer science and a TED talk by Sal Khan. It cannot be rated entirely on the history of similar distance education ventures, if at all.

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Warning: Thomas Friedman is an Education Expert Now

I am reluctant to review newspaper articles or op-ed pieces in the same way I have handled journal articles, series chapters or literature from the developers of MOOC platforms.  However, if utilizing a critical theory lens, no discourse can be ignored, especially when it is presented as dominant ideology.  And few volumes have such a cultural resonance as the New York Times and bestselling author Thomas Friedman.

Friedman commands an audience, though his pedigree to do so has been hotly debated.  Whether deserving or not, Friedman recently moderated a Davos-sponsored roundtable discussion of “how philanthropic resources and technology are being integrated to foster the growing revolution in online education.”   Continue reading

Disruptive Tech via the Experts

A sadness fell over the Ed Tech circles of Twitter yesterday.  Maybe not a sadness, but a resignation.  The fervor that often accompanies information or artifacts from dichotomal points of view (which I love to call PsOV) was replaced with a more subdued conversation, one indicative of licking wounds, falling back, and regrouping.

A lot of MOOC related information entered into the conversation yesterday, and I’ll dedicate specific blogs to each.  But most important, from my perspective, was technology and new media maven Clay Shirky weighing in on the MOOC debate (oddly enough, I linked to a 2009 article of his just the other day when discussing my journey of putting MOOC and disruptive technology together).  The article is powerful to say the least, and makes a compelling argument…so compelling that if you haven’t read it and are interested enough in MOOCs to be at a blog all about MOOCs, you should go to it now.

Clay Shirky – Napster, Udacity & the Academy Continue reading