The due course of education in America is linked to public policy. This has existed on the state and federal level for over 100 years (well over); however, it is only in the last 30+ that there has been a federal department dedicated to education. Too often it seems that people within their own disciplines ignore societal factors and stressors when debating the merits of their discipline. This happens in education, an enterprise subsidized by governmental monies (to a shrinking degree, however). We cannot debate movements in education without looking at politics.
At the same time, politicians and policy hawks need a firm understanding of education if they are going to pitch for a model or debate a movement. Rhetoric and hyperbole only go so far, and ignorance of the theories, pedagogies and history of learning can cause great harm.
My Twitter network shot out an education article published by the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank in Washington, D.C. Written by Alex Tabbarok, it’s title, Why Online Education Works, foreshadows a lack of historical perspective of both online and education (#cfhe12). The artifact is an important representation of existing thought in the political world, and with that I will dive in:
The Siege of Academe: A piece on the edtech startups dotting the Silicon Valley landscape, and what they mean (or don’t mean) to the future of higher education as we know it. The piece comes from the perspective of the innovators (stereotyped here as twentysomethings straight out of East Coast higher ed looking to make it big), and the foundation of the piece is that education is a trillion dollar potential gold mine…for the right company that gets the right product out at the right time. Most interesting to me was the roll call of existing movements in the field (Udemy, EHighLight, the various xMOOCs), as well as the lack of discussion from anyone involved in educational theory or pedagogy. Continue reading →
From a Chronicle of Higher Education article looking at potential ways MOOC-affiliated universities (the article defines MOOC as what scholars would call xMOOC) could benefit financially through the MOOC affiliation, an interesting and snippy comment about MOOCs and the University of Phoenix:
Ms. Koller insists that the courses the company is offering differ fundamentally from those at the University of Phoenix. “Their online effort is really traditional teaching mediated by the computer as opposed to using the tech in a fundamental way,” she argues. “There’s no economies of scale there. What we’re doing is one instructor, 50,000 students. This is the way to bend the cost curves.” Continue reading →
Very recent (read: September 25) research on the MOOC phenomenon by Sir John Daniel, one of the pioneers of open education (#oped12) and distance learning. A piece that I will return to for my scholarship (as well as pick from for other cited authors), but on first second glance:
I appreciate the focus on the xMOOC (still don’t like that term by the way, as it and cMOOC say that these are just two different apples off the same tree, when it’s more like two distinctly different trees ended up in the same forest because two birds delivered seeds from distant lands). Most published research comes from the cMOOC side of things, making a foray into the MOOC topic difficult, as the Man on the Street would associate MOOC with the sort of thing being done by Harvard, MIT and Stanford. Continue reading →